Thursday, April 1, 2010

baking on thursdays

Introducing a new LWD regular...

Every Thursday one of us will post something we've made from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking - a collection of 104 recipes from New Zealand cooks, bakers and food writers. That's exactly two years worth of baking if we try each recipe... Hopefully it will provide some motivation to bake out of our comfort zone and try some new recipes.

Wannabe bloggers - if you have the book and want to help us out, send one of us an email with a picture and a wee rundown of the recipe you tried and we will post your results!

Week One: Fruit Salad Loaf (Claire Aldous)

This recipe seemed familiar when I chose it from the book. After flicking through my pile of yet-to-be-filed recipes I found I already a copy of it cut from Ruth Pretty's Saturday Dominion Post column a couple of years ago (its also here on her website). The version in the Dom Post (called Orange and Apricot Cake) has more fruit in it, and vanilla which is missing from the version in the book. Next time I'll try the Dom Post version and compare.

It made a lovely moist loaf and although it says its "a keeper" I took it to work for morning tea where it quickly disappeared. It reminded me a bit of hummingbird cake, but with apricots and orange and no almonds.

Next time I won't add nearly as much lemon juice to the icing - it was much to thin and most of it ended up dripping onto the bench. Next time I'll also use tart Central Otago dried apricots - much nicer than their Turkish counterparts.

Fruit Salad Loaf

150g butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
175g standard flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
3 eggs
zest and juice of one orange
8 plump dried apricots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup well-drained crushed pineapple
1/3 cup mashed banana

3/4 icing sugar, sifted
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (I just used juice and made candied lemon and orange zest to decorate)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease base and sides of a loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and ,mixed spice.

Beat eggs into butter, one at a time, until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients, orange zest and juice, apricots, pineapple and banana. Fold together using a large metal spoon. Tip the batter into the tin and smooth the top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the loaf is firm and the sides are pulling away from the tin.

To make the icing, sift the incing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a smooth pourable icing. Drizzle this over the loaf, allowing some to run down the sides. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top while the icing is still wet.

The loaf will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Candided lemon and orange peel can be substituted for the fresh lemon zest. Before icing the cake, cut strips of zest, then cook in 100g sugar and 100ml water until soft. Drain and dry on a kitchen towel. (I also rolled the zest in caster sugar once cooled).

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