Friday, July 29, 2011

fruits & nuts quick bread

While checking thru our kitchen cabinet, I found a half-consumed pack of mixed fruits & nuts we bought in Turkey during our trip there couple of months ago. Immediately I thought I could make good use of it to bake some cakes or muffins.

Surfing through recipes online, I found some quick bread recipes on Joy of Baking, and decided it would be a good idea to improvise the cranberry quick bread recipe to make fruits & nuts quick bread instead.

Fruits & Nuts Quick Bread

4 cups sifted plain flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) melted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups of mixed fruits & nuts

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C (160 degree C if using dark coloured pan)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
3. Whisk together egg, butter, vanilla essence and milk.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix in the mixed fruits & nuts. Mix well.
5. Pour the batter into pre-greased pan and bake for 70 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I separated the nuts from the fruits, pounded them with mortar until they were of course medium grain texture and toasted them for 5 mins in the toaster to bring out the fragrant before starting the make the quick bread. I also substituted 1 cup of the plain flour n the recipe with wholemeal flour and reduced the sugar to half a cup.

While baking, I checked the bread at 50 mins and there were some crumbs sticking to the toothpick so I decided to bake for another 10 mins. A mistake because while the quick bread came out full of flavours and of dense and nice texture, it was a slightly on the dry side. On hindsight, I should have stopped the baking there and then since the crumbs were dry and not the sticky type.

I cut the quick bread into thin slices, wrapped them in alum foil before storing it in the fridge and had them for breakfast everyday for almost a week. And oh, cutting down the sugar by half was a good choice for me since I really like my bread to be of mild sweetness. The bread is nice on its own but I also tried it with thick spread of butter, with cheddar cheese (slightly toasted to melt the cheese) as well as with blueberry jam. My favourite is having it with cheese because I find the melted cheese added extra texture to the bread and the cheese flavour complemented the fruits & nuts well.

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