Polenta Quick Bread with Lemon and Thyme

1 9-by-5-inch loaf

Lemon, pine nuts, thyme, and cornmeal are blended in the bowl of an electric mixer. The finished quick bread is crumbly and savory-sweet.


  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

  • cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted, half coarsely chopped and half whole


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Dust with flour, and tap out excess; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  2. Add lemon zest; mix 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and thyme. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Stir in chopped pine nuts.

  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish with thyme.

Cook's Notes

Bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

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