Friday, June 8, 2007
Raspberry Almond Loaf
One of my first cookbooks ever was Judy Gorman's Breads of New England. Published in 1988 by Yankee Publishing Inc., this book was one of the prizes awarded to weekly winners of the Culinary Delights contest when I was the features editor at The Telegraph, the daily newspaper in Nashua, N.H. (If memory serves, I also used Mollie Katzen's Still Life With Menu as a Culinary Delights weekly prize. Reminds me that that book has a great recipe for marinated eggplant.)
I lived in a tiny studio apartment with a two-burner stove that barely worked. This appliance also lacked a functional oven, so I didn't do much baking. I remember attempting microwave muffins. Shudder. I didn't get to use Judy Gorman's book until I'd vacated my studio in Nashua for an apartment with working appliances in Hartford, Conn.
Breads of New England has a lot of recipes packed into its nearly 300 pages, covering a gamut of wheat-based things from yeast breads to quick breads to muffins to scones to pancakes to pizzas to doughnuts, and more. While I've actually tried a good number of recipes from this book, two that I've come back to time and again are Banana Chocolate Bread (a dense banana bread with chocolate chips) and Raspberry Almond Loaf.
The first time I made the raspberry loaf, I made it for Karen shortly after we'd started dating. She said she liked raspberries, and this bread looked like the epitome of elegance. It's a sour-cream-enriched quick bread with toasted slivered almonds and raspberries, goosed with extract to heighten the almond flavor.
Because this bread works best with fresh raspberries, I don't get a chance to make it often. But California raspberries have been on sale the past couple of weeks, so I decided it was time to make a loaf of this bread. Unfortunately, I had no slivered almonds; all I had on hand were unblanched whole almonds. I toasted 'em and chopped 'em up, but they're still a bit coarse for this delicate loaf.
Since this book is so long out of print, I'm going to share the recipe here.
Raspberry Almond Loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Blend in the almond extract. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, alternating with the sour cream, and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until moistened. By hand, gently stir in the toasted almonds and the raspberries.
Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 50 minutes to one hour, covering the loaf with aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. The bread is done when a cake tester or wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan onto the rack. Let bread cool completely before slicing.