When I got out of bed on January 1st and thought about the very first thing I wanted to eat this year, I knew it had to be this poppyseed bread. It’s a family recipe; my mom has made it for her neighbors at Christmastime for as long as I can remember – and I woke up dreaming of it. I texted her early in the morning (or at least what can be called “early” only on New Year’s Day … 9:40 am) to get the recipe. When you wake up craving something, you absolutely must eat it! Otherwise, it will haunt you like the memory of a missed opportunity and past regret. And, I decided, that’s not the best way to start a new year!
This past year (2020) was such an anomaly – many of my goals and projects were put on hold as the world closed down and I had to focus my attention inward toward my family, my children and the mental and physical health of those I loved. I see many people looking back with disdain at the year, saying goodbye and good riddance as if she were a dark storm cloud that has finally lifted. Many of us have felt profound loss this year, but as an eternal optimist, I choose to dwell on the silver linings of the lockdowns. When I look back at 2020, I’ll remember a year of drawing closer to my family, a year of watching my community band together for the good of others, a year of growth that both tried my patience and opened my heart, a year of rescuing two Belgian Malinois dogs and nursing one back to health, a year of rediscovering old family recipes like this one, when “slow food” returned to my kitchen almost daily and our meals lasted bit longer into the evening without the pressure of having to finish homework or get to bed early. I told my kids on new years eve that there are years filled with darkness and years full of light, the circumstances won’t magically change with the turning of the clock, or at the strike of midnight, but rather, the pendulum swings slowly between the two, and right now I feel we’re heading out of darkness toward the sunlight. I’m hoping to be able to post more frequently here on Cerise Chérie as life returns to normal.
Wishing you all a year filled with light, love, good health and happiness.
Holiday Poppyseed Bread
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 Tablespoon poppyseed
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan and line with parchment paper leaving a little overhanging to help with removing the bread from the pan. Dust the inside of the pan with flour and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, poppyseed, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, milk, almond extract and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and beat until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 – 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread briefly in the pan while making the glaze.
- 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the orange juice, sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the almond and vanilla extracts.
Using a toothpick or skewer, poke several holes in the top of the loaf. Pour the hot glaze over the bread. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes longer before using the parchment to remove the bread from the pan. Cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.