Monday, August 2, 2010

Blueberry Applesauce Loaf

I'm hoping in the next few weeks to do a lot of Maida's recipes involving summer fruit--especially peaches and blueberries. While peaches are readily available in France, they are especially delicious here in California; blueberries, on the other hand, are not a very common fruit in France, at least not as common as they are here. So summer fruit, here I come!
Dad had about half a Costco-sized container of blueberries in his fridge, and we had a visit to my aunt coming up, so I decided to make this blueberry applesauce loaf. Of course my planning was a bit off--a couple of hours before we were supposed to leave for Fran's house, I pulled out my cookbook and realized we were missing some key ingredients. Fortunately, Trader Joe's is not far away (how I'm enjoying that!), and I could make a quick run for pecans and whole wheat flour. Soon the oven was preheating and I was mixing up batter.

The recipe says it makes two small loaf pans. Well, Dad and Sharmyn have a large loaf pan. They also have lots of muffin pans. Thus I made a large loaf and 6 muffins. That served our needs nicely: a loaf to take, plus muffins to have for breakfast.

I made the mistake of mixing the batter in the food processor: after all, it was out and I had used it to chop the pecans. It worked great until I realized I had to mix in the blueberries without chopping them into smithereens. Oops--more dishes to wash.

Mmmm...blueberries and pecans. I'm pretty darned sure I used more than the two cups of blueberries called for in the recipe.

Blueberry batter.

The finished product in some impatient hands (note that these will stick even in a silicone mold. Butter it!)

The verdict: Good but not great. There was lots of blueberry and pecan flavor, but the cake was perhaps just a bit too hearty. In any case there's still a bunch left, which to me means that it's far from irresistible. But if you have a lot of blueberries and are looking for a breakfast treat that's not too sweet or too rich, this might be the recipe you want to try.

Blueberry Applesauce Loaf

6 oz. toasted pecan pieces
2 large eggs
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. mace (or nutmeg)
1/4 c. salad oil or melted butter
1 c. (7 oz.) sugar (you'll need a bit more for sprinkling later)
(1/2 t. vanilla)
1 c. (10 oz.) unsweetened applesauce
2 t. lemon juice
2 c. (about 7 oz.) fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 c. (8 oz.) sifted flour
1 c. (4.5 oz.) sifted whole wheat flour

Heat the oven to 350. Get out two small loaf pans, or a normal loaf pan and some muffin cups. Grease them. Grind half the pecans into a fine powder in the food processor and coat the pans with the pecans. If you have more than you need, mix those nuts with a couple tablespoonsful of sugar and set them aside.
In the large bowl of a mixer (or in a bowl with a whisk), whip the eggs with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and mace. Mix in the oil, sugar, and vanilla, then the applesauce and lemon juice. Then stir in all but a tablespoonful of the flour. Mix that remaining spoonful of flour into the blueberries; mix them and the non-ground pecans into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and sprinkle it with the nut/sugar mixture. Bake for 25 minutes for the muffins; 50 minutes for the loaf. A toothpick should come out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and unmold. Serve this fresh, preferably warm. Maida warns that this doesn't keep well, and I believe she's right. If you don't want to eat/give this away quickly, freeze it and try not to forget about it.

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