Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lemon Thyme Blackberry Loafs!

It's rare that I bake. This, most friends know. I think it has something to do with the requirement for precision. You can't just 'wing' a baking recipe the same way you can something you cook. I know that's a sweeping generality ... you can certainly wing it with some aspects of baking (sub dried apricot for dried pear! add nuts! put some cocoa in it! add some fresh herbs! you get the idea), but if your measurements for baking soda or flour or the number of eggs is off, it can be a collosal fail. And I don't like to fail. Nor do I like the constraints of following a recipe to the tee. So, anyway, that's why I don't bake often. However, once in a while the urge hits me, and a recipe inspires me, and off to the oven I go! These little gems would work out nicely as muffins or a larger loaf. The only way to better these is a touch more lemon zest and blackberries than the recipe calls for. Otherwise, enjoy (this one is from Bon Appetit)!

Ingredients (Crumble):
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
Ingredients (Loafs):
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed, drained) blackberries (about 6 ounces), halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Directions for the Crumble:
  1. Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add butter. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until pea-size lumps form. Add egg yolk; stir to evenly distribute and form moist clumps. (Crumble should resemble a mixture of pebbles and sand.) Chill for at least 1 hour.
Directions for the Loafs (using a mini loaf tin ... you can use muffin tins, too):
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prep the pan by rubbing butter on the insides of the loaf tin, followed by sprinkling the inside with flour (or, use paper liners if you can find them). Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. In another bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar to butter and continue to beat until well incorporated, 2–3 minutes longer. In a third small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla to blend; gradually beat into butter mixture. Continue beating until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Combine buttermilk and lemon zest in a small bowl; gradually beat into butter mixture. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend (do not overmix).
  2. Toss blackberries and thyme with 2 Tbsp. flour in a small bowl; fold into batter, gently crushing berries slightly to release some juices. Spoon about batter into loaf tins until about 3/4 full (they will rise). Top each with 2 Tbsp. crumble.
  3. Bake until tops are golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes, then transfer loafs to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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