Well, it didn't take long before the baking bonanza resumed.
After a week of (relatively) healthy eating - soup, lots of fruit, herbal tea infusions, etc - I got restless and decided to make what Americans call a "quick bread", which is not breadlike at all, more like cake in a loaf shape. But this moist, fruity cake is the perfect companion to large mugs of hot, black tea - just what the doctor ordered on a grey winter's day.
BTW, I had a pear that was stonehard a few days ago and figured it wouldn't do any harm in this loaf, so in it went. You could use apples of course.
Plus there were some sultanas and walnuts kicking about from Christmas baking sessions - in they went. As you'll see from the recipe, the sultanas received a bit of help ;-) Use what you have in your cupboard, the photo below shows how many of the ingredients were leftover from December - a chance to use up what you have, now that's so 2009.
Pear, walnut & whisky-soaked sultana cake for tea time
- 215g self-raising flour
- 160g ground almonds
- 160g light brown sugar
- 125g butter, melted
- 6 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 150g raisins or sultanas, soaked for 1/2 hour with 2 tbsp whisky and enough water to cover
- 1 pear, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- handful walnuts
Preheat oven to 190 C. Lightly grease two loaf tins (1 small and one medium should do it)
In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl mix the eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, followed by the melted butter. Stir together, using a large spoon, and if it looks very thick, add a few splashes of water to loosen the mixture.
Add the soaked sultanas, pieces of pear and the walnuts, give the mixture another few stirs to incorporate everything and then decant to the loaf tins. Bake on upper-middle shelf of the oven for 45mins-1 hour (my oven's slow so it took close to an hour, if you have a convection oven the loaf will bake much faster) and savour a piece with a cup of tea or coffee. Mmm....
* other suggestions: you could add spices such as cinnamon or cardamom to the cake mixture. Other dried fruits could be used such as plums, apricots, prunes or figs. The pear was tasty, but actually reflecting on it I probably would stick to apples in the future as they've got a bit more acidity to balance the sweetness of the cake, depends what your taste is :-)