Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dried Cherry Walnut Loaf

Recently, I had the opportunity to sample some delicious goodies of my choice from OhNuts!, an online store specializing on selling nuts and dried fruits in bulk. After considering the plethora of choices, I chose 1 lb of raw walnuts and 1 lb dried red sour cherries two of my favorite things to use in recipes. As soon as I discovered how delicious they were, I used them sparringly and these two bags lasted me MONTHS. The raw walnuts were so full-flavored that my father, who mind you eats a lot of walnuts (Iranians have this crazy theory that if you eat too much cheese, you become stupid unless you eat plenty of walnuts which counteract the stupid-causing components of the cheese. Because my father eats cubes of feta cheese with his bread for breakfast every morning, the man consumes A LOT of walnuts.) demanded I buy more immediately. The cherries were so moist and juicy that they were perfect in morning oatmeal, salads, and even a batch of white chocolate cookies. Before my supply of walnuts and cherries finished however, I wanted to use them for a recipe on the site.

Like I mentioned in my post about the cherry ice cream I had in NYC, I love cherries. I tend to pair them with chocolate a lot (thanks, Ben & Jerry's!), but this time I wanted to use them to make something a little more healthy for a bridal shower for my friend Sabira, who is always so encouraging about my cooking/baking and this blog. I stumbled upon this cake by Peabody , which seemed like a good balance between healthy and delicious. I ended up making it minus the date sugar because we didn't have any. Also, my batter turned out a little too watery because I soaked the cherries covered (I think they should have been soaked UNcovered...), but I just added some more flour and called it a day. If you're looking to buy good quality nuts, dried fruit, candies, etc., check out OhNuts! to look around at their wide variety (seriously, 2,000 products...) and try something out.

Dried Cherry and Walnut Loaf
Adapted from Peabody's Recipe

1 cup dried cherries
¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ + 1/8 cup boiling water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups cake flour
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a loaf pan, approximately 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 inches with butter.

Mix the cherries, walnuts baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Then stir in the boiling water and the butter. Let sit for 20 minutes. Sift the sugar and flour together into a small bowl. Lightly whisk the vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the flour and sugar into the egg mixture in 3 additions. Fold in the cherry and nut mixture, making sure the ingredients are well combined. The final mixture will be thick. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour.

Check with a knife or wooden skewer after about 50 minutes. Don’t worry if a little piece of the cherries and some moisture stick to the tester. It’s better to take it out early then risk overcooking the loaf. Take out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before removing from pan.


Peabody said...

When you soak fruit you want to ring it out before you put it into the batter. Also, date sugar is more absorbant than granulated sugar.

Aku said...

Hey! I've been stealthily reading your blog for a while and finally have to say that 1. This bread looks lovely and 2. Oh! Nuts is going to be kind of a lifesaver for me--it's really inconvenient to find dried fruits and nuts at school but I love making trail mix and granola. Thanks for the tip!

Manggy said...

Hey, if it means a cake that's a little moister... Why not, eh? Yummy cake you have here! ;) It must mean I'm probably a little dumb, as I like munching on cheese every now and then but I like to limit my nut consumption!