Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Fruit Bread

Baking for Easter, in our family, takes on a traditional note.  Yes, like my mother I always make Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday and wonderful yeast breads for Easter Sunday's dinner, but moreover, I started to notice how her baking flavors and ingredients had a noticeable difference from what we baked during the Christmas holiday and I wanted to bring those flavors to this bread.

This fruit bread honors her baking for the season and becomes a lighter (Spring-like) version of those traditional fruit cakes at Christmas that many cringe when seeing them on the dessert table.  In fact, one could call this more a "tea bread" and rightfully so, it would be great with a cup on these chilly nights.

Fruit breads were predominantly found in  Eastern European countries, but also some Asian countries; Panettone from Italy,  Barmbrack from Ireland, Kulich from Russia, Kolach from Czechoslovakia,  and Babka from Ukraine to name a few.  For Easter, the concept of eating a fruited bread or sweetened communion bread dates by to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian Church.  I always felt like the breads my mother made for Easter reflected the "renewal" after forty days of Lent and enjoying the sweetness of forgiveness by our Savior.

Easter Fruit Bread
1/3 cup fruit juice (I used apple, but orange would work too)
1 3/4 cups of assorted dried fruits--I used 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried blueberries, and 3/4 cup dried cherries
zest of 1 orange--or, I used 1/3 cup diced European candied orange peel

Measure the juice into a small sauce pan, bring to a simmer on top of the stove, add the fruit, and remove from the heat.  Allow to sit until cool, about 15 minutes.

1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 vanilla bean split and scraped or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325F-degrees.  Butter a "Pullman" loaf pan, then add a strip of parchment paper or wax paper to the bottom and butter that.  **You could also bake this in a small bundt cake pan (10cup), mini bundt pan, or muffins.  Adjust time for baking.


In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly, Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beat well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix well.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add along with the sour cream to the mixture.  Mix on medium, just until combined.  Stir in the dry fruit mixture.
Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
I baked the Pullman loaf pan for 65-70 minutes.  The bread should be golden brown and when a wooden skewer is inserted in the center, it comes out cleanly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Glaze
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 T light Karo Syrup
2 - 3 T very warm water
1/2 tsp. vanilla, or lemon, or almond flavorings

Mix ingredients together to make a smooth glaze. 

Invert cake onto a serving platter or transfer to a lined cooling rack.  When cool, pour glaze over the top.
 This recipe is a wonderful addition to your breakfast table for Easter celebration or as a tea cake to enjoy with friends.  What recipes do you hold dear for this season? Enjoy!


 

23 comments:

  1. Wow, what a beautiful bread. Growing up my mom always made fruit cake for Christmas, too, and all 5 of us kids and my dad would give her a hard time (but we would all eat it). I found a shirt while I was on a trip that said "friends don't give friends fruit cakes" and I couldn't resist buying it for her. It was a favorite shirt of hers until she wore it out. :)

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    1. I love fruit cake, but I've heard from a lot of people that they just won't eat it. This cake is light and maybe it would ease someone into the idea that fruit cakes-GOOD! Happy Easter, hope it's joyous for you and your family, XOXO

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  2. This reminds me of a cake my Mum used to make called 'Cut and Come Again' Cake...I always loved the name....Mum's didn't have icing though...nor sour cream,I think it was marmalade.
    Jane x

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    1. I LOVE that name! And, my Dad would have loved the marmalade on top...it was his favorite, XOXO

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  3. I love the special breads of this season, but now, what I really want, is a Pullman bread pan. I've never seen one before and I'm quite certain that I would like one. Off to find out how to accomplish that!

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    1. King Arthur Flour catalogue has them! My sister bought one last year after I made a tea bread in mine. Happy Easter, dear friend, XOXO

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  4. This looks really good. Will have to try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by...the cake was a hit with my hubby!

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  5. Now, THIS is fruit cake I would eat! And, enjoy...And, not be able to stop eating! :) I'm going to make a strawberry cake this week for Easter. Gotta love the bunny, right? Hope you're enjoying your week!! Lv, me

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    1. LOL! My week is always packed full of work and the only way I'm surviving is the days are longer:-D! I'm thinking strawberry/rhubarb may be a feature for me this week too...if I can find rhubarb. Can't wait to see what you create, Soul Sister! Happy Spring, XOXO

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    2. I found rhubarb in the store yesterday...Thin and limpy rhubarb. :( Alas, I will have to wait for better rhubarb. I'm off work today and starting the cake with making the strawberry puree. Strawberry daiquiri cake this time, cuz that's how we roll! lv, me

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  6. I love fruit cake, as long as it's not a rich one like Christmas cake.I make one that has no fat and I use heated linseeds in it rather than an egg. The fruit is soaked overnight in black tea. For this season though it has to be hot cross buns. I'll be leaving it as late as possible to make them so that I'll have some left for breakfast on Friday morning, as once made I find them irresistible!

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    1. Sounds wonderful and I hope you post the recipe on your blog to share, XOXO

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  7. Oh, this looks so lovely I shall print it out upstairs for my Easter folder! I love special foods for special days too!

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    1. What a wonderful idea you've given me. I love special foods that have become part of our family's tradition. XOXO

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  8. Susan?

    That looks lush. You are a magnificent baker. Susan

    p.s. Are you slender? (hee hee. I know I WOULDN'T BE if I ate all your luscious baked goods. I hope I didn't offend you with the question.)

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    1. No, you didn't:-D I give most of what I bake away to friends...so the most I have is a taste to make sure it comes out the way I plan and I can post it. I wish you lived near by and could be a taster, XOXO

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  9. This really does look interesting and a yummy addition to Easter.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. Welcome home! Have a wonderful Easter with your family, XOXO

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  10. My husband doesn't eat candied fruits...so I hardly baked any fruit cake. This looks really tempting, Susan, with the drizzling glaze.
    Happy Easter!

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    1. I used dried fruits because my hubby doesn't like candied ones either. He loved this bread, XOXO

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  11. What a wonderful recipe. I hope you enjoy your week, my friend and Sis! Happy Spring!

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