Whenever I make this bread, I am reminded of witches. I can’t help but think it would be wonderful for a cakes and ale ceremony on Esbat or Sabbat – especially one performed in autumn’s harvest months. On a more practical front, it’s also great for breakfast and as a snack to fortify an obsessive artist, writer or student.
The bread’s specialness comes from the WHOLE fruits it contains, as well as the richness of its honey and spices. It’s texture, density and weight is something like a banana or zucchini bread. It’s flavor is reminiscent of traditional Christmas fruit cake, but fresher.
It contains several nutrient-rich superfoods, and I don’t think the addition of some nuts or seeds would hurt it any. (Maybe I’ll try that next time.)
HONEY & FRUIT HARVEST BREAD
DETAILED, ILLUSTRATED INSTRUCTIONS
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Butter short sides of 2 loaf pans, and line center of pans with parchment paper.
3) In bowl #1, assemble, then mix:
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola)
- 1/2 cup honey (Use the same cup you measured the oil in, it makes the honey pour out easier; use a rubber spatula to get all the honey.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
4) In bowl #2, assemble, then mix:
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup golden raisins
5) Measure raisins. Do not pack. Set aside. (Do not blend with apple and orange.)
- 1 small – medium apple
6) Wash, quarter, remove stem and seeds. (Do not peel.) Then chop.
This will yield approximately 2 cups chopped fruit.
- 1 tangerine OR 3-4 clementines (These have lovely aromatic oils in the skin, but little bitter, white pith.)
7) Wash thin-skinned orange-like fruit and trim off stem end. (Do not peel.) Then chop fruit, discarding seeds.
This will yield approximately 1 cup of chopped fruit.
8) In blender or food processor, combine chopped orange and chopped apple. Pulse until finely chopped.
This can be a pain. Be patient. Don’t reach in with fingers. If necessary, remove blender canister from base, turn upside down and thump to free fruit, then continue.
9) When apple and orange are finely chopped, add 3/4 cup liquid, as follows:
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1/4 cup STRONG brewed coffee, not hot (I use some of my iced coffee concentrate.)
As long as this totals 3/4 cup, you can use any proportion you like. Next time I’ll be including a shot of apple brandy or something similar.
10) Blend fruit and the 3/4 cup of liquids to create a puree.
There can, and should be, bits of identifiable fruit in the final mix.
ASSEMBLE THE LOAVES:
11) Add and mix approximately half of the blended fruit mixture into the eggs, oil, sugar, honey mixture in bowl #1.
12) Add and mix approximately half of the flour mixture into bowl #1.
14) Stir in golden raisins.
15) Divide batter evenly into 2 prepared loaf pans.
16) Bake approximately 40-45 minutes, until toothpick test shows only crumbs and not batter.
17) Let cool in pans until easy to handle. Lift out with parchment paper.
18) Remove parchment and let cool completely.
MAKE IT SHINY:
If desired, make honey / juice glaze as follows:
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon clementine, tangerine or orange juice
Brush mixture over completely cooled loaves, 1- 3 times at approximately half-hour intervals.
This does soak into the bread, creating a flavorful but sticky “crust”. It’s pretty, but I prefer to leave the honey fruit bread plain. (Which makes it easier to eat as a snack while at the keyboard.)
Primary recipe category: Food for Writers / Artists / Other Obsessives (Also qualified to be on the Gorgeous / Decadent list.)
A while back, I took it into my head that I should challenge my taste buds by expanding my liquor collection. Over the years, I had fallen into a boring vodka sour / margarita / cheap American beer routine. As a former bartender, I was ashamed of myself.
When I got to the liquor store, I knew I wanted to avoid stunt drinks. I have little patience for ridiculously high-proof booze. I don’t want to hide the flavor of a good spirit under cloying fruit flavors. And I don’t feel the need to blend anything. When I came to the bourbon aisle, my little writer’s heart went ka-thump.
Yes, I thought, bourbon. Elegant. Stately. Classic. Featured in any number of great Southern Gothics.
I discussed brands and quality with the owner of the shop, and came away with a mid-priced bottle and strict instructions to drink it straight, or – if absolutely necessary – over the rocks.
A few days later I gave it a go. A nasty liquor-shiver seized me at the first taste. My palate just can’t handle that much … booziness. I filled the glass to the rim with ice and waited for much of it to melt. Once the water / bourbon ration was about even, I could drink it, but I didn’t much like it.
As I sipped, I realized that there were some interesting, even pleasant, notes of flavor under all that alcohol. It was somehow autumny. There was a dry edge, almost like woodsmoke. And there was a complex kind of sweetness that I couldn’t immediately identify. When I tasted again, trying to isolate that almost familiar flavor, I was reminded of honey. I jumped up and took my drink to the kitchen, intent on intensifying that note.
I promptly learned that honey does not readily dissolve in a cold mixture. I stirred and stirred until the flavors blended. It was much improved, and I was able to finish it, but it was still missing something.
Tonight, as I was putting away some spices I’d used to make dinner, I spied the bottle of aromatic bitters on my pantry shelf. I decided to go after the bourbon again.
This time I knew I’d have to melt the honey before I chilled the drink. Here’s what I tried:
- 1 scant tablespoon of honey
- 1 shot glass of hot water (from my Kurig machine)
- Stir until honey is melted.
- 1 shot glass of very cold water
- 1 shot glass of bourbon
- 2 dashes of bitters
- Add 4 ice cubes.
It was delicious (though a little too sweet for me – next time I’ll reduce the honey.)
When I settled in to write this post (with my newly invented cocktail at my side) I idly googled “bourbon honey bitters”.
Do you already know the punchline to this?
It turns out, I invented an old-fashioned. (Though according to the purist view of the linked article, I should admit this is a variation of the classic cocktail. I can’t claim originality for my honey innovation, because I’m certainly not the first person to try it. Plus, I’m pretty sure Mr. Doudoroff would have kittens if he knew how much water I used.)
Still, the structure is mostly in place, and I am pretty proud of how I got there.
PS: Be assured that my mixologist’s memories faded from my mind long ago. If this was a case of remembering a recipe I once knew, it was entirely unconscious.
This recipe is from the category: Decadent / Gorgeous Food (Click the link to learn more about my general food philosophy.)
It’s been a busy weekend. The Anoka Walking Dead Crawl was great fun and there will photographs later this week. Right now, I’m going to go enjoy my old-fashioned (variation) while soaking in a hot bath. ‘Night all.