21 August 2013

The Silver Palate's Apricot and Raisin Bread



Last week, I was a baking maniac! Our little church was having its annual summertime flea market - a huge event for the little community in which I live. The ladies of the church always have a long bake table and sell all manner of sweet treats, pies, cakes, quiches, breads, muffins, scones, and preserves. My contribution this year was a double batch of scones (cranberry/almond and mango/ginger) and this quick bread ... there were cookies made too, for the grill station lunch specials that the men's group heads up. I was beat by the end of the weekend, but it was great fun working on the event and seeing everyone enjoy each other's company!



This particular quick bread comes out of my favorite cookbooks of all time ... The Silver Palate Cook Book. It seems a healthier version of most quick breads that I've seen, as it's made with less sugar than usual, olive oil (and not a lot!), and has some of the flour switched out and whole bran or wheat germ popped in to increase the fiber and heft of the bread. I put a small amount of apricot brandy into the batter to dress up the fruit flavour a bit. I also switched out the milk and subbed in buttermilk. Someone told me that buttermilk lightens up the flake of breads and biscuits and I figured with the wheat germ, the loaf would need more 'fluff'. The golden Sultanas and dried apricot bits are soaked for several minutes while you put the batter together, then they are drained and tossed with a bit of sugar that gives them a crackling coating. They are folded gently into the finished batter and tossed into a buttered loaf pan ... an hour later, it's tea time!

In this particular case, though, the bread will be wrapped and taken on an adventure ... more to follow!




Apricot Raisin Bread
slightly adapted by The Spice Garden

Ingredients:

1 c. boiling water
¾ c. dried apricots, coarsely chopped
½ c. golden Sultana raisins
3 tbsp. plus ½ c. sugar
⅓ extra light olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. apricot or peach brandy
2 ¼ c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk
¾ c. wheat germ or unprocessed bran
raw sugar for sprinkling

Making the Bread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.
  2. Place the prepared apricots and the raisins in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Set aside for ten minutes.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a measuring cup.
  4. Measure out the wheat germ and the milk in cups and have them ready.
  5. Beat the olive oil and the ½ c. measure of sugar in a large bowl.
  6. When the sugar crystals begin to break down, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
  7. Add the apricot brandy and beat that in.
  8. Drain the apricots and raisins and add the 3 tbsp. of the sugar, tossing to coat the fruit and make a crunchy coating on the pieces.
  9. Add the flour, milk, and wheat germ to the wet batter, alternating between the three and mixing well in between.
  10. Finally, fold the sugared fruit in gently, turn the batter into a prepared pan, sprinkle with about 1 tbsp. raw sugar and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when the loaf is poked.
  11. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and cool a bit before serving or wrapping snugly in foil (to maintain moisture).


5 comments:

  1. This sounds wonderful! I can't wait to hear where it is going. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  2. The bread sounds incredibly delicious and I love the fact that it has less sugar and has such wonderful flavors in it. Great recipe and thanks for sharing :)

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  3. the perfect bread cake for taking on an adventure... looks so yummy, i'd love to see a cut slice!

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  4. cake lady food is always the best. I would love to have some tomatoe tart-those are a favourite of mine. Your galette looks lovely.

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  5. I would never have thought of combining apricots with raisins in a bread, but like you, if the recipe is included in one of the infamous Silver Palate cookbooks, I KNOW that it MUST be delicious. Just like you, I cherish those cookbooks!!! Happy Labor Day Susan!

    xo
    Roz

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