Friday, November 13, 2009

In the Kitchen of Eden

In the world of the kitchen, there are widely accepted and expected ingredient and flavour marriages that are as commonplace as the latest Hollywood divorce. Onions and garlic, peanut butter and anything (but especially the infamous grape jelly), apples and cinnamon - all are go to staples in most recipe arsenals, whether mental or physically documented. Basic and reliable combinations were some of the first things I learned as an eager "mini-baker" at my mom's elbow, and it wasn't until much later when I began writing my own recipes that I began really testing the other matchups that might be out there. I've come across some real winner over the years for sure - my best friend clued me in to the delicious mixture of tart lemon and sweet cherry one summer when we were messing around with cake mixes and frosting in her kitchen, and I re-engineered the blend for her a couple years down the road. I played with saffron, adding it to raisin-studded Challah, herbaceous breadsticks and most recently pairing it with a Merlot and walnut-packed celebration loaf for our Thanksgiving table.

One of the pairings that I had dabbled in but never really pursued was tart, dark cherries and cloyingly sweet white chocolate. Not being a particularly huge fan of the white stuff myself, and not having anyone in my family who particularly clamoured for it either, the marriage made famous by Ben & Jerry's has (as far as I know) made only a single appearance in the pages of this blog - when I made the namesake cookies.

But, as it turns out, the call of inspiration can come at any time, from anywhere! After seeing a Tweet by Patricia (blogger at Brownies for Dinner), I became enthralled with the idea of creating one of her latest farmer's market finds: a sweet yeast bread filled with white chocolate chips and dried dark cherries. I set about meddling around with a honey-rich white loaf recipe from my mom's Bread Book - one that admittedly we had never made before, since home made bread was reserved for Christmas mornings - and wound up with this dense (yet tender), fruit studded treat. While it's in no way what I was looking for at the beginning of my trials, with the white chocolate pieces melting into the flour and the whole mess being more of a batter than a "dough" - my mom didn't complain at all. In fact, it disappeared so fast that I almost didn't get a photo of the finished bread to share! Good thing I did though - I'm sending it off to YeastSpotting over at WildYeast.

Cherries and White Chocolate Bread
Serves 16
1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp fat free vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup "lite" margarine spread, melted
1 egg
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tbsp salt
3 oz white chocolate chunks
3 oz dried cherries
milk for brushing crust
  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook) combine yeast and warm water, stirring well. Let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in honey, then gradually add 3 cups flour, stirring well.
  3. Beat in yogurt, margarine and egg until well incorporated, then add remaining whole wheat flour and salt.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes, until strong "gluteny" strands form.
  5. Add white chocolate and cherries, knead in for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Place into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Deflate dough and scrape into a large greased loaf pan.
  8. Lightly cover and allow to rise 1 hour, until cresting the top of the pan.
  9. Preheat oven to 375F.
  10. Brush top of the loaf with milk and bake for 35 minutes until hollow-sounding when tapped.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 200.0
Total Fat: 3.8 g
Cholesterol: 14.1 mg
Sodium: 47.2 mg
Total Carbs: 37.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
Protein: 4.7 g


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