Saturday, 25 February 2006

Good ol' Lemon Poppy Seed Bread



It's been months since i've baked anything in my loaf pan & it's been letting out a yearning call ever since. From way up to my bedroom, it's been calling, blending its throaty cries with the seductive entreaties of the poppy seeds mel gave me for christmas. So what was i to do? Ha.

I'm quite a fan of quick breads. They are very traditional things and are great for any occasion or lack of occasion. My mom loves these babies (esp banana breads) for tea or a poor excuse of lunch. In my case, i can eat em anytime, breakfast,lunch,supper or even have some for a late night movie snack. And if you do the glaze syrup just right or try to garnish it up real pretty, it can even become a jazzy gift for someone. This recipe is pretty amazing but if you want it just right, you've gotta leave it to cool completely & then wrap it up tight like a mummy in clingwrap for a day before eating it. This causes the poppy seeds to unlock its secret flavours fully but because i'm impatient and hungry and thought "Hey i've already soaked them in milk for over an hr, figure i'll just eat it now", I sliced it up while it was still nice & warm and ate it while watching some crazy Buzz Lightyear show with a bottle of cool Long Island Tea. Fabulouso! The poppy seeds are wonderfully crunchy (psstt..they're illegal in some countries..like Singapore) and the lemonyness of the bread really socks you in the gut. One reason is that the lemon syrup poured over the cake while hot soaks into the cake all the way to its base so you really taste the citrous fruitiness while you munch on those blue-black glamour moles and lemon zest all the way to your toes. Honestly, it's like falling in love...not that i've ever but you get my point. :) However, if you're not a lemon fan, i suggest you reduce the amount of zest in the bread and the amount of juice in the syrup because my lil sister couldn't take it really. Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (recipe by Beth Hensperger from Art of Quick Breads)

Ingredients

3tbs poppy seeds

1/2 cup milk

5 tbs unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

zest of 2 lemons

1/4 tsp salt

Lemon syrup:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine seeds and milk. (As I always say, use full- fat milk for the best impact but i'm always using my favourite low-fat, note: not non-fat, milk because i find the results are still as rich & up to standard) Let this stand for an hour to macerate & meld its flavours.

Preheat oven to 170dCelsius.

Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat.

Combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt. Add this dry mixture to creamed mixture in 3 portions, alternating with the milk-seed mixture. Beat just until smooth and pls, no longer. Pour into 9x5" loaf tin, then smoothen the top with the back of a spoon so that it can bake nice and even. For quick breads, you always want it to bake til its nice n golden brown with that line or crack down the centre. So watch it carefully. This bakes for 55-60min.

10min before bake time ends, combine sugar and juice in saucepan over low heat. Stir gently with a wire whisk. When cake is done, pierce the loaf about 12 times with a toothpick and immediately pour hot lemon syrup over the cake, covering the top completely. Cool in tin for 30min before removing from tin to wire rack. When cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let stand at room temp overnight before serving. (of course i didn't do that! :D)

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