Despite all the sleep deprivation, I wanted to try something different in the kitchen. Lately the breads I've been making have been pretty standard fare without much variation. What I wanted this week, though, was something a little more interesting. Back in Canada I would often enjoy a cranberry and blueberry muffin with coffee and a book on the weekends. Unfortunately I'm not quite set up to do muffins since moving to the new house, but this doesn't preclude the ability to make a nice loaf of something.
The first challenge was to find blueberries. Given that these are not yet in season, the only way to get them is to put a second mortgage on your home and hope there aren't too many mushy berries buried under a thin layer of good ones. Rather than spend a fortune on these, I decided to go with just cranberries. These are not especially popular in Japan, but you can get them in cans for a reasonable price.
Next up, the recipe (which was slightly adapted from my mother's copy of Cranberry Thanksgiving):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 3 large oranges)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
With all of this set and ready to go, preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line it with cooking paper to make it easier to slide the cake out of the pan after baking.
First, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender (or your fingers), cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, orange peel, and orange juice and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Then fold in the cranberries. The batter will be thick and there will be small pieces of butter throughout.
From here, spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 70~75 minutes, or until a toothpick nested in the center comes out clean. Once done, cool the bread on a wire rack after removing it from the pan.
Now to make a good cup of coffee, grab a book, and enjoy a few minutes of peace.