Rebecca Reilly’s Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

sunportraitpoppy2.jpgSomehow along with the early time zone change, the weather decided to change too. We skipped right through sakura (cherry blossom) season and spring- directly to early summer. Something about the scent of flowers in the air- and also a feature in Gourmet magazine- made me want a light, sweet, lemony dessert. These three lemons on my table, framed by a white plate, were calling to me- but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Enter Rebecca Reilly’s “Gluten Free Baking,” which is truly a masterful and expert tome on gluten free desserts. I flipped idly through its pages, remembering the chocolate mint bars (which I tried on recommendation and LOVED), the perfect gluten free graham crackers that I enjoyed as smores and even more on their own, and then I saw it. A recipe for Lemon poppy seed bread that claimed to be so good that Rebecca Reilly “uses it for wedding cakes.” A bread that could be used as a cake? I was intrigued. It called for her gluten free mix, almond flour, and quite a lot of poppy seeds. My entire stock of poppy seeds was only about half of what the recipe called for, so I decided to half the recipe. I mixed the dough, and was slightly worried that it seemed a bit heavy. I stirred in the poppy seeds, and the fresh lemon zest, and sniffed. Ahhh… lemon. I poured it in the pan, swirled the top and baked it, letting the smell of summer and baked goods fill the house. DH came home, and we shared it- it was light, enlivened by the lemon zest, and sweet, but not too sweet. It was in fact exactly what I wanted. As cake, Rebecca Reilly apparently fills it with lemon curd and frosts it with buttercream, but even without frosting it was extremely nice. The poppy seeds pop nicely as you chew, and the texture of the bread itself is light and melts away in the mouth. The only critique I would make is that the bread is rather crumbly. Adding a little extra xanthan gum might make it less prone to crumbling. But, we both enjoyed its light, lemon flavor and soft texture. I’d give it a 7.5/10, and would definitely make it again. I just need to find an inexpensive source of poppy seeds, as an entire jar of McCormick poppy seeds is only enough for half of the recipe!

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