Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lavender Tea Bread by Gardener Janet

I have heard about cooking with lavender, but I’ve never tried it. Years ago I saw a photo in a book called, “Herbs, Gardens, Decorations, and Recipes” by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead, showing a delectable looking lemon tea bread. I had always wondered what would happen if I added lavender to that beautiful quick bread.

So this afternoon when the temperature dropped as an afternoon storm approached, I decided that it would be a good time to turn on the oven. I picked some fresh lavender flowers and started my culinary experiment.

Adapted from “Herbs”:

Lavender Tea Bread
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp fresh chopped lavender flowers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice from 1 lemon
Powdered sugar

Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat the milk with lavender almost to a boil, then steep until cool.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in bowl.

In another bowl cream butter and gradually add sugar, then lemon zest and eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with lavender milk, in three parts. Mix until batter is just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.

Make a simple sugar glaze with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. Add lemon juice to ¼ to ½ cup powdered sugar stirring until a thick but pourable paste forms. When completely cool, drizzle bread with sugar glaze. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lavender.

Looks beautiful….the taste is quite unique, and the aroma of lavender is very subtle. Fresh, and not too sweet. I think that it will be perfect with a tall, frosty glass of iced tea.