02 August 2010

Family recipe Monday: tea breads and tea

Tea breads are sweet and lush, quick baking powder-rising or baking soda-rising breads, somewhere between bread and cake, best served with a pot of tea in the late afternoon. Except in August, when iced tea really should be substituted. Most of us are familiar with banana nut bread, but there are many more options out there. Here are some recipes for that afternoon sojourn on the veranda. Do try to find a nice veranda if you  can....

Strawberry bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups salad oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 10-oz packages frozen strawberries, thawed
1 ¼ cups chopped nuts

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, soda and salt in a large bowl. Add salad oil and eggs; mix thoroughly. Stir in strawberries and nuts. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 350* F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Yield: 2 loaves.

Note 1: the flavor and crumb of all tea breads improve if loaves are wrapped tightly and allowed to sit overnight before slicing.

Note 2: Please let us know if you can successfully keep a loaf of fresh strawberry bread unsliced overnight. We never seem to achieve this.

Note 3: fresh strawberries from the farmers' market work very well, too. This is best with Earl Grey tea.

Cranberry bread
Grate rind and add juice of 1 orange in a cup. Add 2 T shortening and fill cup to 3/4 full with boiling water. Put in mixing bowl and break up shortening with fork. Sift together:

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

Mix with wet ingredients only enough to absorb flour. Do not beat. Add 1 cup cranberries cut in pieces with knife and 1 cup pecans. Pour into greased loaf pan. Let stand 20 minutes before baking. This is important. Bake 60 minutes in 350* F oven. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan. Do not cut for 24 hours.
--Vada Brooks Johnson

Pumpkin bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 16-oz can pumpkin
3 ½ cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
2/3 cup water

Cream sugar and oil. Add eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Sift together all dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture alternately with water. Mix well after each addition. Pour into two well-greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350* F for 1 ½ hours or until it tests done. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cool.
--Shirley Johnson Shelton

Zucchini bread

Good for when your "friends" give you the end-of-the season zucchini the size of baseball bats….

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp mace
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cherries, cranberries or raisins, or a mix

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried fruit. Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5”x9” loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Final note: Make your iced tea with as much care as you make hot tea, and sweeten it to taste while it is still hot. Sweetening it once it is chilled is more difficult and tastes very different. If you are using Earl Grey, try buckwheat honey as the sweetener.

Happy Monday. See you on the veranda.

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

"Good for when your "friends" give you the end-of-the season zucchini the size of baseball bats…."
Very funny - and timely - I'm going to keep it on the side till next month which is when we have overflowing zucchini here in quebec (although I must say we've had an unusually warm summer so all our harvests are early by about 2 weeks.
A Canadian Family
Ed. A Festival of Postcards