Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Blueberry Apple Rhubarb Bread

After my pie and rhubarb adventures the last few days I've had some extra fruit laying around. A cup of blueberries, one stalk of rhubarb, and an apple. There aren't a lot of recipes out there calling for that particular combination of fruit so I started considering my options.

I thought about doing a crisp -- quick and easy, and it really lends itself to that kind of spare fruit. However, I wasn't sure if I should saute the apples to soften them first, or just let them bake. Then I saw the recipe for the Lemon Blueberry Cake on Smitten Kitchen and I knew I found my recipe. Only one problem -- I didn't have any yogurt.

I thought about just substituting buttermilk for yogurt, but I wasn't sure how much of a difference the flavor would make, so I found a base recipe similar to what I wanted to do and adapted it. The original recipe was for Cranberry-Orange Walnut Tea Bread in my Passion for Baking book. Despite the dramatic change in name, my changes were pretty basic actually -- I subbed the zest of two lemons for the oranges, added fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of orange juice, and used Lemon Oil instead of Orange Extract. Then for the fruit and walnuts, I simply threw in the blueberries, chopped apple and chopped rhubarb.

I was a bit worried that it would be too tart because of the substitution of lemon juice for orange juice -- but it was just fine. Yes, the bread is tart, but so fresh tasting and bright that it all works out in the end. And of course the beauty of it is that you can add just about any fruit that you have laying around, add nuts, add powdered sugar glaze... however you want to make it.

Blueberry Apple Rhubarb Bread
heavily adapted from a Marcy Goldman recipe

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons, finely minced
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon oil (or pure lemon extract)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries
One stalk of rhubarb, chopped
One apple, peeled and chopped
(or any combination of fruit and/or nuts that you think might work and taste good.)

Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixer bowl, rub lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers. Then add the butter and cream in a together well. Blend in egg, vanilla and lemon oil. Mix in lemon juice and buttermilk (it will curdle -- don't worry about it). On low speed, blend in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to make a thick batter. With a spatula, fold in fruit.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake about 55 to 60 minutes, or until cake is lightly browned and springs back when gently pressed with fingertips. Cool well on wire rack.


Anonymous said...

quite yummy--a muffin bread, i'd call it. a little tart--the lemon really came through--but moist and fruity and sweet and tart. it works for me.

Mira said...

i really liked this! even if i didn't know what "mystery" fruits i was eating. :D it was still extremely moist and yummy the next day, too! thanks for the treat! :)