Wednesday, October 19, 2011

crabapple bread

Like banana bread, crabapple bread is exactly what it says it is. Bread with crabapples in it. Short and sweet and simple.

I would never have thought to put crabapples in bread or regular apples, for that matter. But we've been literally swamped with jam this year.

I'm not kidding.

We arrived home from our vacation with plenty of apples, crabapples, chokecherries, and plums. I really wanted to try making chokecherry jam (the first time I've ever used them for anything), and I had to make a quick trip to pick up a bag of sugar (because of course I'm completely out of sugar exactly when I need cups and cups and cups of it and exactly around the time I'd decided I didn't want to buy huge bags of sugar anymore). While out, I decided to quickly stop at the post office to pick up a package from Greece.

I had my chokecherries boiling, the sugar ready for measuring, and we cracked into that Greek package to find... jam. Yeah. Lots and lots and lots of jam (and mountain tea and oregano and bay leaves -- still on the branch). 

I was making jam while humongous monster sized jars of jam were slowly being unearthed from a huge box on my dining room table. 

And that's when I started searching for something different for crabapples. Crabapple jelly was not happening. Not when I really wanted to make apple pie jam. Not when I was already making chokecherry jam. And definitely not when the only thing I could really think of to best use the plums was (you guessed it) jam.

It kind of sucks because crabapple is one of our favourite jams. It's got the best sweetly tart flavour.

Anyway, since I had so many apples, I thought I could experiment with a few different ideas.

First, I wanted to save some for Thanksgiving. I thought they'd be perfect chopped up in stuffing (and they were).

Then I found crabapple bread in a random search for crabapple related things and whipped up a quick loaf. It's an extremely easy recipe. The only labour-intensive process is chopping the crabapples themselves.

Now the recipe, I noticed, states to spread the batter into a "loaf pan(s)" which had me going back and forth as to whether I should use a loaf pan or a larger cake pan. I didn't think I had enough batter for the cake pan, so I went with one loaf pan and because of that, this one loaf took twice as long to bake and it rose a lot more than I anticipated. So the idea to put a crumb topping on went completely out the window. Just be careful to split it into two loaves or maybe use a larger square pan. It doesn't look like much, but it does fill out quite a lot during the baking process.

We couldn't wait for it to cool much before slicing it, so it was a little crumbly (and accounts for my haphazard photography). No matter. Crumbs are just as good. Spread some salted butter on, and this is the perfect snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, coffee cake... the list goes on. The little slices of chopped crabapple are such a nice treat. Not that it's wrong or anything but sometimes it gets a little boring eating something sweet with more chunks of sweet things throughout. The crabapple lends a burst of tart flavour that works really well with the sweet, almost plain bread.

In case that wasn't enough, crabapples fair pretty well in the freezer. So I painstakingly chopped up the remaining apples and measured them into freezer safe jars. This way when we're craving a little something different for Sunday breakfast in the dead of winter, I'll be able to grab some apples out and get to baking.

adapted from here

1/2 cup butter or margarine (I used the latter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (I used egg whites only -- the carton kind)
2 tblsp milk (I used soy)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cup roughly chopped crabapple (leave the skins on, but remove the core and seeds)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts or delete them altogether)

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together. Add to butter mixture. Stir in the crabapple and walnuts until combined.

Grease a large loaf pan or a couple smaller pans. Add batter and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (timing depends a lot on what size of pan you choose to use). Cool (if you can) then slice.

{note} I think this batter would be swell as breakfast muffins. Adjust baking time accordingly.
{noted} You could use any tart apple. Granny smiths would probably mimick the tart flavour best.


Susan Bickmore said...

When I was young we had a crab apple tree and chockcherrys too. I would love to find those fruit trees again. Maybe they don't fair in our climate. Thanks for the recipe. Brings back wonderful memories.

Laeli said...

That sounds really good. Unusual too!
I didn't know you could make stuff with chokecherries. Learn something new every day,love that!

Stephanie said...

This sounds really good. I love breads with fruit in them and I've got a ton of crabapples still!

Anonymous said...

We've got an ornamental crab apple tree in our outdoor table and I picked off all the fruit tonight - enough for one cup! (It's its first season). I halved your recipe and made six muffins. Delicious as a limited-edition treat. Thanks!