Bread

Dessert, Bread

Saffron Scented Popovers

Makes 6 large popovers.

Piping hot popovers usually elicit oohs and ahhs of excitement. The truth is they could hardly be easier to make. If you don’t own a popover pan, you can use a standard-size muffin pan or custard cups. Saffron popovers are delicious with either savory fillings or butter and jam.

1 cup milk
Saffron, large pinch
2 eggs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Thoroughly grease each cup of the popover pan (or muffin tin). Set aside. Crumble the saffron into the milk and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl,* whisk together the eggs, saffron-milk, and butter. Add the flour and salt and whisk (gently) until the batter is smooth.

Fill each of the pan’s cups just over half full. Bake at 450 degrees until the popovers have puffed up and the tops have some golden spots, about 15–20 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until the popover tops are completely golden brown, about another 15–20 minutes.

Removing the popovers from the pan and use a paring knife to poke a slit into the

bottom of each one, which will allow some steam to escape and prevent the interior from becoming gummy. Serve right away.

* A bowl with a pour spout is ideal!

Bread, Dessert

Da Lat Spice Banana Bread

Makes one 9”x 4” loaf.

Our Da Lat Spice blend is inspired by the romantic Vietnamese city of the same
name. The blend was created as a rub for roasted or grilled meats and vegetables, but
we’ve found that it can be equally enchanting in sweet settings. This banana bread is like a favorite, older cousin who has come home from a year away at college — familiar and friendly, but just a little more sophisticated. Our Da Lat Spice adds the warm richness of coffee and chocolate, plus the unexpected spark of ginger and black pepper, to this cozy tea bread. It’s even tastier after an overnight rest, which lets the flavors meld perfectly.

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar *
11/2 cup mashed, very ripe bananas
2 teaspoons Da Lat Spice blend
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a metal loaf pan, line its bottom with baking parchment, and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to combine and fluff. Set aside. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick, satiny-smooth, and a light buttery color, about 7 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the Da Lat Spice and, with the beaters running, slowly drizzle in the oil, incorporating it completely. 

Gently fold in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla followed by the flour-mixture and the nuts using quick, strong strokes. Don’t over-mix the batter — you don’t want to deflate it.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean when stuck into the top-center of the loaf. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15–20 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

* We like the slightly caramel-y flavor of organic cane sugar in this recipe, but any granulated sugar will work just fine.

Top it off! 

Serve the bread with honey-sweetened cream cheese that’s scented with orange-flower water. To make it, add 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons orange flower water, and the zest of half an orange to an 8-ounce tub of whipped cream cheese. Whisk or stir to blend well.

Adapted from Joanne Chang’s recipe for Flour Bakery’s banana bread.

Bread

Swedish Cardamom Brioche

Makes 12 buns. Adapted from a Posie Harwood recipe on Food52.com.

Cardamom is used in baked goods throughout Northern Europe, especially in Sweden. These buns are tender and pillow soft — bright, citrusy cardamom is the perfect match for the butter- and egg-rich dough.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (320 grams)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
12 tablespoons buttered, softened
1/4 cup milk, warmed slightly
2 tablespoons warm water
5 eggs
2–3 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar

Whisk the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook, and start the mixer on low speed. Add the butter and mix until it’s coated with flour and broken into blobs. Add the milk, water, and four eggs (reserve the fifth egg for later). Increase the mixer speed to medium. Beat for about 15 minutes, then increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Mix for another 5–10 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and almost forms a ball. (Because of the richness of this dough, it takes a long time for the gluten to properly develop. Definitely use a stand mixer for this recipe!)

Transfer the dough to a well-buttered bowl, cover, and let rise for 2–3 hours, until doubled in size. Then, chill the dough for an hour to make shaping the very soft dough easier.

While the dough chills, generously butter a heavy 8”x 8” baking tin and line the bottom with baking parchment (cut to fit).

Scrape the cold dough onto a well-floured work surface. Use a bench knife to turn the dough twice, coating it lightly with flour. Shape the dough into a rectangle and cut it in half long-wise; then, cut each half into six equal pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball.

Place the balls into the baking tin (there will be a little room between them). Cover loosely and let rise for about 1 hour. Make an egg wash by beating the fifth egg with 2–3 tablespoons of water, and preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Just before popping the pan into the oven, gently brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle on the pearl sugar. Bake the buns for 20–25 minutes until they’re tall, glorious, and golden brown.

Let the buns cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the tin onto a cooling rack to cool further before serving.

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Grinding cardamom, yourself and as needed gives the best flavor. If you are working with cardamom pods, crack them by pressing a heavy pan on them. Pick the seeds out of each pod and discard the husks. Grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in an electric grinder.