Flour Girl: Relish your cranberry leftovers
I had the idea of using leftover cranberry relish in a tea bread. I found a recipe in my collection for applesauce bread and figured I would just substitute the fresh (uncooked) cranberry-orange mixture for the applesauce, one-for-one.
Not so fast; baking substitutions are rarely that easy.
I was humbled, as I am so often in the kitchen, by my first attempt. It was too thin a batter and overflowed the pan to end in molten cinders on the bottom of the oven. Fortunately (if one can even say so) this isn't my first experience with oven char-goo. I smelled the problem early on and rescued it by putting a baking sheet under the loaf.
The results tasted fine and moist, but the interior of the loaf had a greenish-blue tint. Hmmm...there were no green ingredients and no frogs in the kitchen as I mixed the batter.
So we contacted our former Food 101 columnist, Robert Wolke. He figured it out right away. The cranberries are acidic; when combined with a mixture that contains baking powder, the pH goes up and can turn a red-fruit concoction to blue or green: "Your basic alkaline state," he said. "Happens sometimes with red cabbage, you know?"
Well, the tea bread tasted good, in any case. Technically still quite edible.
I'm very loyal to my family's oh-so simple cranberry sauce: one bag of cranberries, one whole orange and one cup of sugar. But this was the moment my 17-year-old food processor decided to throw in the towel -- just as it was in the last stages of chopping my cranberry relish. The nerve!
Much to my delight though, I found that Trader Joe's makes the real McCoy (cranberry relish, not food processors): same simple ingredient list, same crisp, bright flavor. So my cranberry bread project continued.
The second time around, I reduced the amount of relish and omitted the milk in the batter. Those strategies did the trick, although the green tinge remained. I ate right past it.
Here's my recipe. If you are put off by the color, slather slices of the bread with plenty of cream cheese. Problem solved.
-- Leigh Lambert
Cranberry Relish Bread
Makes one 9-by 5-inch loaf (12 servings)
The bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.
1 cup homemade or store-bought fresh (uncooked) cranberry relish
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Combine the relish, sugar, oil, vanilla extract and eggs in a large bowl; whisk to combine.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then fold into the relish mixture, just until blended. Add the chopped pecans and mix to incorporate. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan; if the batter seems runny, place the pan on a baking sheet to catch any spillage. Bake on the middle oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes. The center should be firm and spring back slightly to the touch when the bread is done.
Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then use a round-edged knife to loosen the bread from the sides of the pan. Invert onto a wire rack; cool completely before serving or storing.
Per serving: 396 calories, 5 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar
December 3, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Flour Girl , Recipes | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, cranberry bread, recipes
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