Lately I have been enjoying afternoon tea.
Where you brew loose tea in a proper teapot and serve it in a proper teacup atop a saucer.
Sometimes at night, after dinner, I brew another pot of something soothing - camomile or mint or earl gray. The 16 year old often joins me (I get a kick out of that). We sit together, have a cookie or a scone, sip our tea and chat for a few minutes. TBHITW and I often enjoyed tea together on frosty winter nights but that was before I discovered the civility of a teapot and proper tea cups. We always sipped ours from steaming mugs with the tea strings wrapped around the handles.
This cranberry-nut bread is a perfect addition to a spot of tea. It is sweet and tangy and comforting. If you haven't already finished your Thanksgiving day shopping this bread may be a welcome addition to your table. If you are traveling, I recommend it as a perfect hostess gift. Perhaps along side a proper teapot.
Cranberry-Nut Bread: makes 2 loaves
Fresh cranberries, about 3 cups whole
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder*
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.
Rinse the berries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones. Place in a food processor and pulse about 5 times until rough chopped. Measure out 1 1/2 cups for the recipe.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. With a pastry blender or 2 butter knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it has the consistency of rolled oats. Add the egg, orange juice and orange zest and mix well using a wooden spoon. Stir in the cranberries, raisins and nuts.
Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven, set on racks and let cool completely in the pans before turning out. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices to serve.
*with the holiday season coming into full swing and ovens working over time with holiday baking now is the time to buy fresh baking powder and baking soda. Use any old baking soda in your fridge or freezer or pour down the garbage disposal to freshen it.
A Cook's Notes: these loaves give off the best aroma when baking so don't be surprised if one loaf disappears before you ever get to tea time. For breakfast, a slice of this bread toasted and then smeared with a dab of cream cheese will cure whatever is ailing you!