Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cranberry, Apple & Hazelnut Loaf

This crunchy topped country cake is scrumptious, a light crumbly fruit loaf made from the delicious autumn fare of juicy apples picked from the garden, sweet dried cranberries and oven roasted hazelnuts. Being so fruity it's postively healthy, so a slice can count as 1 of your recommended 5 a day. The difficulty, as we've discovered, will be stopping at just one slice....

Serves 8-10

Adapted from a recipe given at BBC Good Food Online. See their recipe for blackberry & apple loaf here. I've changed the fruit and added some extra touches such as the hazelnuts to make a loaf with a slightly earthier, rustic taste.

2 medium eating apples
2 large eggs
80g dried cranberries
80g hazelnuts
175g light muscovado sugar
175g unsalted butter
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
half a teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1. Turn the oven to 180C (160C Fan ovens). Grease and line a 2lb / 1.7 litre loaf tin.

2. Beat the eggs in a bowl until fluffy.

3. When the oven is up to temperature, place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for approx 5 minutes, until golden and the skins are splitting. Check on them at 4 minutes, making sure they don't burn. Once roasted, take the baking tray out and leave the nuts to cool.

4. As if you were making a crumble topping, using your fingers rub the butter, muscovado sugar and flour together in another bowl, until the consistency of crumbs. Transfer 4 tablespoons of the mixture into a smaller bowl, then stir into that smaller bowl the cinnamon and demerara sugar and put to one side.

4. When the hazelnuts have cooled a little, quarter them, chopping finely.

5. Meanwhile give the eggs another quick beat, before grating the apples and orange zest over them. 

6. Add the egg, apple and orange mixture and a teaspoon of baking powder to the large bowl containing the rubbed in flour, sugar and butter. Stir the ingredients gently together.

6. Tip in the chopped hazelnuts and dried cranberries, again stirring gently.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Spoon the reserved topping mixture onto the cake evenly.

8. Bake in the oven for approx 1 hour 15 minutes, checking it after 50 minutes and covering the top with foil if it's browning too quickly. You'll know the cake's baked when a skewer comes out clean.

9. Leave to cool in the tin for at least half an hour before carefully transferring onto a wire rack. This cake is delicious warm or cool, but bear in mind that it's extra crumbly and difficult to cut when still warm, as I impatiently discovered.

This loaf was idly baked while listening to a recording of the Aquinas Piano Trio playing Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio 1914

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