Saturday, January 14, 2012

Celery Orange Bread

I am not what you call, a celery lover. A few days ago, I found myself in the possession of two bags of celery. After discarding the option of making salad I decided to try something crazy new. My taste buds indicate me that celery belongs to the family of fragrant vegetables like anise and fennel. I said, hey, they make cookies out of those, maybe I can try to make something sweet with these stalks. After going through my old recipes, I found one I copied from a book I read at the library 5 years ago. The book was called "Quick Breads", unfortunately, at the time I did not pay attention to the name of the author. It was an excellent book, all the recipes were very easy to follow. This Celery Orange Bread was inspired in the Stollen recipe in that book. I substituted celery purée for the milk, orange zest for lemon zest and cream sherry for the cognac. It came out fantastic! The celery flavor is very subtle but adds an interesting and I could say, elegance to this fruit bread. I urge you to be curious, you won't be disappointed!


Ingredients



6 large stalks celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries
½ cup raisins
¼ cup cream sherry
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup sugar

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the cranberries and raisins with the cream sherry and let them soak for 1 hour.

Cut the celery stalks in pieces, cover them with water in a medium sauce pan and cook until tender.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a blender or food processor, puree the celery stalks until very smooth.

Add the egg, oil, orange zest and vanilla extract.

Blend until well mixed.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and sugar. Mix well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Drain the cranberries and raisins, discarding the cream sherry, and add them to the batter, mixing well. 


Place the batter on a floured surface. 

 Flour the top of the batter, lightly, and flatten it with your palm forming a rectangle.


Fold,starting from the shorter side, placing the edge on the middle of the rectangle.

Fold the opposite edge overlapping the first fold.

With the help of a floured pastry scraper, transfer the loaf to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Alternatively,the batter can be placed in a greased loaf pan, without shaping. 

Bake for 40minutes.

Let the loaf cool for at least 10 minutes and serve!

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