Thursday, September 27, 2007

Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter

"We worked long and hard to get this loaf as moist and as lemony as it is."

I'll admit I snickered at the introduction to the recipe for Lemon-Poppy Seed Tea Loaves from Once Upon a Tart. I read it out loud to Fork and he responded, "Oh, baby, talk dirty to me!" But I'm a sucker for the classic lemon-poppy combination (Dorie Greenspan's muffins are fabulous), and I was in the mood to bake something but struck out with attempts to make Pear-Ginger-Raisin Muffins (the pears were very unripe) and Apple-Cranberry Muffins (the crummy supermarket downstairs didn't have any cranberries).

So lemon-poppy it was, and I'm happy to report the authors' long and hard efforts to get these loaves moist paid off. I made the cakes tonight in my mini loaf pans, and they came out wonderfully. Tangy, light and smooth on the inside, golden and a little crusty on the outside (thanks to a 400-degree oven), they're snazzy little pound cakes. And so cute you just want to pinch 'em! --S

Lemon-Poppy Seed Tea Loaves

makes two 5-by-9-inch loaves*

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened; plus more for smearing in loaf pans
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for dusting loaf pans
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T poppy seeds
1 1/2 c sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 T grated lemon zest
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c cold milk

1. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Smear two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans with butter, and dust them lightly with flour.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds together in a medium-size bowl.
3. In a separate, big bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, using the whisk attachment of a standing or handheld electric mixer on high speed (or a sturdy wire whisk), until they are fluffy and light lemon-yellow in color. With the mixer speed low, beat in the eggs, continuing with the lemon zest and juice. Don't worry if the batter looks lumpy, like there's cottage cheese in it; the lemon juice causes the batter to "break."
4. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (or a wooden spoon), stir half the milk into the wet ingredients. Stir in half the flour. Stir in the remaining milk. Add the remaining flour, and stir until no flour is visible.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans with a rubber spatula. Make sure to divide batter evenly between the two pans, so that they require the same baking time.
6. Place the loaves side by side on the center rack in the oven, and bake them for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tops are a very light golden brown and a toothpick or small knife inserted deep into the center of each loaf comes out clean.
7. Remove the loaves from the oven, and set them on a wire rack for a few minutes, until loaves are cool enough to touch. To remove a loaf from its pan, place the rack over the top of the pan, and quickly flip the pan so the loaf falls out onto the rack. Allow the loaves to cool a bit before slicing. Serve at room temperature.

*I used four mini-loaf pans and one 8-by-5-inch loaf pan. The cooking time for the mini loaves was about 25 minutes; for the large loaf, about 30 minutes. I also lowered the oven to 350 for the last five minutes of the large loaf's baking time, since it was looking a little dark.

Recipe courtesy of Once Upon a Tart

1 comment:

Katy said...

Love that cookbook. Everything I've made from it has come out wonderfully. They have a great attitude, too.