It is rumoured that there are over 900,000 poppy seeds contained in a pound of poppy seeds . . . I've never actually counted them, nor am I likely to, so I'll just have to take the rumour monger's word for it.
What I do know for sure is that I love poppy seeds in baked goods. Always have done, probably always will. (although to be sure they aren't necessarily ideal to serve in dinner party foods . . . a poppy seed caught in the tooth can be quite disconcerting to your dinner time partners!)
When I was a much younger (ahem) woman I was lucky enough to live in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Alberta for a time . . . while there I used to ubdulge myself in these lovely sweet pastries that were sold in most of the bakeshops . . . filled with a sweet and scrummy poppy seed filling . . . no doubt a tasty treat come down from the traditions of Eastern European settlers that filled the Canadian West . . .
Oh my . . . but they were soooo delicious . . . I could never quite get enough of them . . . the pastry all buttery and the filling so sweet and yet crunchy at the same time, with a distinct almond flavour and a lucious glaze gilding all of that goodness.
They were so good that some 30 years later I am still thinking about them . . . or is that just the power of a rose coloured food memory clouding my culinary vision . . . I am not sure.
I only know for sure, that I do have a special fondness for Poppy Seeds that goes way back.
They make quite a lovely showing in these delicious breakfast or teatime muffins . . . the muffins all buttery and sweetly moist . . . and at the same time tangy with lemon, both in flavour and the scent . . and then with those pretty blue seeds scattered throughout . . . a feast for all the senses . . . and lets not forget that lemon sugar crunch topping!
These go down a right treat with your morning cuppa!
*Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins*
Makes one dozen
Light and sweetly tangy and filled with lots of poppyseed crunch, and a scrummy lemon sugar topping!!
3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
220g caster sugar (1 cup)
335g of self raising flour (2 1/4 cup)
2 TBS poppy seeds
80ml of fresh lemon juice (1/3 cup)
250ml of milk (1 cup)
60g of butter, melted (1/3 cup)
2 large free range eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a 12 cup muffin cup pan really well. Set aside.
Place the sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl. Rub the two together with your fingertips really well. (This smells great!) Remove 3 TBS of the mixture and set aside. Sift the flour into the remainder. Stir in the poppy seeds. Whisk together the lemon juice, milk, beaten eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the liquid all at once. Stir together only to combine. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally.
Sprinkle the tops of each with the reserved lemon sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature.