Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Mystery and a mystery ingredient

It's been a busy year, so when I finally took time the other night to draw a bath, relax, and read, I chose my favorite author, Joanne Fluke.  She writes fictional murder mysteries around a character who owns a cookie shop and by the way, solves murders that occur in Lake Eden, Minnesota.  Besides the fact that I love stories around "strong" women, Joanne supplies recipes that the character, Hannah Swenson makes for The Cookie Jar, the shop she owns. 
Plum Pudding Murder came out in 2009 and on page 100, I came across a recipe that contained a "mystery" ingredient.  I emailed Joanne and asked if I could share this wonderful recipe with my readers; "of course," was her answer, so here it is.  Don't be afraid...it's delicious!

I would like to add, I've made many cakes with strange ingredients.  Some of the ones that stand out are; tomato soup, mayonnaise, sauerkraut and even a very rich chocolate cake made moist with julienne beets!  So, you see, I'm up for trying anything.

Pork and Beans Bread

15 or 16-ounce can of pork and beans (Joanne used VanCamp's, however, I'm a vegetarian, so I used Bush's Vegetarian beans)
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (not canola or olive oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecan or walnuts (measure after chopping--I used pecans)
3 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)

Prepare two 9"x5"x3" loaf pans with a nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat oven 350F-degrees.
Don't drain the pork and beans.  Pour them in a food processor or blender--I used the blender.

Process them until they're pureed smooth with no lumps.
Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk.  Stir in the pureed pork and beans and mix well.  Add the oil and vanilla extract.  Mix well again.  Add the sugar and stir to mix.  Then add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir to incorporate.  Stir in the nuts.  Add the flour in one-cup increments, stirring after each addition.
Spoon half of the batter into one loaf pan and the other half of the batter into the second loaf pan. 
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Test the center with a long food pick for doneness.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap.  You can freeze the bread in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Hannah & Lisa's (her partner) note: If you don't tell anyone the name of this bread, they probably won't ever guess it's made with pork and beans. 

I loved it!  It reminded me a little of zucchini bread, but had a more, golden color like pumpkin.  Just think about all the protein you're having with a wonderful treat.  In fact, I ate two pieces while continuing with my murder mystery!  Enjoy!


  1. Don't know what happened!
    I read and re-read this and still sitting here wondering if I'm reading it right! I will have a chat with my personal baker later and see what she thinks. Libby

  2. Susan, Thanks so much for bringing some to work. This bread was AMAZING!! I can't wait to make it and freak my husband out! :)

  3. As a vegetarian I thought I was going to sit this one out I did not realize you are a vegetarian too! What an interesting bread! I look forward to adding more protein into our day! I am happy to hear you had a relaxed night : )

  4. I just finished baking the "Bean Bread" and my hubby and I give it 2 thumbs up!! I wrapped the second loaf and will give it to my friend Libby---since I'm her personal baker!!