Just in time for the holidays. This 'bread' is more of a loaf, and a sweet one at that. Resembling a pound cake, it is heavy on the butter, eggs and sugar. Best served with and afternoon tea cup of Barry's in hand.
3 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) milk
1 ½ cups (210 grams) flour, sifted
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
3 tblsp. (30 grams) poppy seeds
13 tblsp. (184 grams) (about 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
Preheat oven to 350* F / 180* C. and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a loaf pan. Line the bottom with the paper wrapping from one of the sticks of butter (greasy side up). Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the , vanilla extract, and milk. Set aside.
By hand or with a mixer, blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds until combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture, mixing until moistened. Beat well for about 1 minute (this aerates and develops the cake's structure), scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches (beating about 30 seconds after each addition to strengthen the structure of the batter).
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to cover the bread with buttered foil after about 30 minutes if you find the bread over browning.
Bring the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with about half the hot lemon syrup. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. Brush the remaining syrup onto the bottom and the sides of the loaf. Re-invert the bread so it is right side up and then cool the bread completely before wrapping.
Store at least overnight before serving to allow the lemon syrup to distribute throughout the loaf.
Makes 1 loaf.
NOTA BENE: For coeliacs and gluten-free diets, a good substitute is a blend of soy, white rice and tapioca flours. Add an extra tsp. each of baking powder & soda to the flour mixture.
For those with a wheat intolerance, barley flour is good for baking.