I can't believe how daring I've become with my baking! I've always liked to cook and often add my own twists there, and baking was okay, but I never, never deviate from a recipe when baking. Until now.
Recently, I've been baking a lot (at least once a week) because we host a group of college students studying abroad in France in our home every Friday. I've had to go out on a limb because this has resulted in 14 Fridays that I've needed to come up with something for. And now I'm addicted to baking...who knew?!
Anyways, back to the experiment story. Someone made a big batch of cranberry relish for Thanksgiving and gave us the leftovers. We didn't have enough turkey leftover to warrant so much cranberry relish, so I racked my brain to find a solution...and then I came up with cranberry sauce bread! I've become a big fan of the loaf in my baking pilgrimage, so this seemed so natural. Really, I just substituted the cranberry relish for the bananas in my banana bread recipe and added an orange juice glaze, but this little deviation from a baking recipe has been so liberating for me!
There are some changes I'd make next time, but this won't be anytime soon. Cranberries are very difficult to find in France, so I'll have to wait until I return to the States to make this again, I think. Even so, although the traditional cinnamon/nutmeg spice combo tasted good in this recipe, I was looking for something more. As it was, it tasted like banana bread without the bananas and with the tartness of the cranberries. I wanted something more distinctive, and through some recipes for cranberry bread by Dorie Greenspan, I think I'll add some Chinese five spice instead of cinnamon/nutmeg next time. I might try adding a little more of the cranberry sauce, too, for some added tartness. I was limited since I only had a little less than two cups left, and I wanted to make two loaves (one to eat and one to give to the person who had contributed the cranberry relish to Thanksgiving).
Cranberry Sauce Bread
Makes 1 loaf
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup cranberry relish (see below for recipe)
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
5 Tablespoons orange juice
1/8 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degree. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in one bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together. Add in the cranberry relish, eggs and vanilla. Add in the flour mixture. Add in the milk as well as the nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 10 minutes.
While the loaf is cooling in the pan, boil the orange juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. (I approximated here because I wanted a less sugary and more orangey taste. But the glaze doesn't shine without the sugar. You can play with this to your liking.)
Remove the loaf to a rack or platter and poke the top with a toothpick all over. Spoon the orange glaze over the loaf and let cool completely.
Here is the original cranberry relish recipe. Walnuts were used in this batch, but I think that either walnuts or pecans would be fine. Also, I used the cranberry relish a few days after is was made, so that might make a difference in the consistency and taste. If you are able to, make the cranberry relish ahead of time.
Makes 10-12 servings (if used as relish)
1 bag of cranberries (10-12 ounces, 4 cups), washed
2 small oranges, quartered, seeded (can be peeled or unpeeled)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts--pecans or walnut work well
Put cranberries and oranges in a food processor, chop until in small chunks.
Add sugar, mix well.
Chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
(Amount of sugar can be altered to increase or lessen tartness, but wait for the hour in the fridge to test.)