Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

I am a big fan of Chef Thomas Keller.  A few years back Andy and I attended a dinner in his honor at Bacchus restaurant in Milwaukee.  Mr Keller was promoting his cookbook “Ad Hoc at Home”.  We all sat at large round tables and passed each course family-style, as is the concept of Ad Hoc restaurant.  It was wonderful.   The food was delicious, and Mr. Keller very graciously visited each and every table, patiently posing for photos and making small talk with his many admirers.  My most recent Chef Keller acquisition is his beautiful book, “Bouchon Bakery.  Mr. Keller has such an attention to detail and passion for his work that he can make the most simple foods seem special.  There are hundreds of recipes for this classic flavor pairing, but I can assure you there are no better lemon-poppy seed muffins than these.  They are baked in a jumbo muffin pan, which makes each one a generous serving, but they are light, tender, and full of bright lemon flavor.  The crust is a little sugary with a bit of crunch at the edges.  I didn’t have any large muffin cup liners so I improvised with DIY parchment paper squares.  They were okay in a pinch, but I’ll be looking for the proper paper liners because there are several more Chef Keller recipes to try.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins
(makes 6 jumbo-sized muffins)
*The batter must be refrigerated overnight, so plan accordingly
161 grams (1 1/4 cups) cake flour
3.4 grams (1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon) baking powder
1.7 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
234 grams (1 cup + 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
170 grams (1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons) eggs**
4.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) vanilla paste
194 grams (6.8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
60 grams (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
6 grams (generous 1 tablespoon) grated lemon zest
4 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) poppy seeds
Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a medium bowl.  Add the salt and whisk to combine.  Combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla paste in a deep medium bowl and mix with an immersion blender.  Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing until just combined.  With the blender running, pour in the butter in a steady stream, and continue to mix until the batter is smooth.  Add the lemon juice and blend again to combine.  Fold in the lemon zest and poppy seeds.  Transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 36 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F.  Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with muffin papers and spray the papers with non-stick spray.  Transfer the batter to a pastry bag, fitted with a 3/4 inch plain tip, (or use a spoon), and pipe or spoon the batter evenly into the papers, stopping 3/8 inch from the top (135 grams each).  Place the pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325F, and bake for 34 to 37 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
**To measure eggs, beat the eggs in a small bowl ( you will need about 4 eggs for this recipe), strain them through a sieve, and then weigh or measure out the amount you need.
(from “Bouchon Bakery” by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel)

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