Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Poppyseed Bread with Yellow Plum Glaze

Slice of Bread from Loaf
Unusual, and Unusually Delish

Recipe by Leslie

I’ve wanted to try this recipe for decades. My former housemate Leslie, the sweetest person in the world, created it. I joined the household a year after they’d grown poppies in the garden and she’d perfected the recipe through trial and error. Sadly, they didn’t grow poppies the year I moved in. This bread is more well-endowed with poppyseeds than most, and frosted with an unusual stone fruit spread that’s essentially jam and butter mixed together. The taste combination of the crunchy, subtly spiced cake and sweet-tart fruity topping are indescribable. You’ll have to try it to know it.

Dried Poppy Seed Pods with Seeds Leaking Out
All This and Bright Flowers Too
Growing your own culinary poppyseeds is a rewarding way to ensure freshness.  I’ll elaborate on poppy culture in a future post. In the meantime, if you can’t remember when you bought the poppyseed that’s in your pantry, buy yourself a fresh supply at a natural foods store. Like any seed, especially a tiny one with lots of surface area exposed to the air, its “nutty” flavor deteriorates rapidly with age. Store leftover seeds in the fridge and use up promptly, or better yet just buy the 1/3 cup you’ll need.

Mixing bowl with batter, a little lemon, and a lot of poppyseeds
Last Ingredients: Lemon and Poppyseeds
I made some alterations in Leslie’s recipe. Her glaze was originally ½ cup soft butter combined with ¼ cup apricot jam. I reduced the butter to 2 tbsp. and made my own quick jam with yellow plums from my yard. You can do the same with any stone fruit in your yard or at your farmers market. Store bought jams will work in a pinch but don’t have the complex flavor of homemade from real fruit.

You might want to try my easy (no canning) Apricot Refrigerator Jam or more flavorful (canned) Apricot Jam to have on hand. Either of these can be made with plums, nectarines, pluots, apriums, nectaplums, or what have you, singly or in combination.

In the bread itself, I substituted lemon zest for grated orange peel. A zester makes larger, more interesting chunks of peel, whichever citrus fruit you choose. The nutmeg is Leslie’s brilliant idea, a subtle presence. Go ahead and challenge friends and family to name the bread’s spice! 

Slice of Bread on Plate
Perfect with Tea or Coffee
Poppyseed Bread with Plum Glaze
serves 8 - 10

6 tbsp. soft butter
1 cup evaporated cane juice (raw sugar)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 cups flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk or soymilk
1/3 cup poppyseed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar together until well blended and light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in milk till blended. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir together until well blended. Stir in poppyseeds and lemon zest.

Turn into well-greased (I use unsalted butter) and floured 9” x 5” loaf pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto cooling rack.

When completely cool, frost with plum glaze.

Loaf of Bread Being Spread with Frosting
Use Rubber Spatula to Frost Bread
Plum Glaze

1 cup cut-up yellow plums (~12 oz.)
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp. soft butter

Put cut-up plums into small saucepan. Cook on high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Continue heating, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool to room temperature.

Beat butter into the “jam” mixture. Spread on top of cooled poppyseed bread.


  1. Wow, Robin, this bread sounds yummy! I don't cook but this recipe almost makes me want to start. Your photos are wonderful!

  2. I've had this recipe for decades, Vicki...maybe like me you'll eventually bake it! Thanks for the photo compliment.