Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tropical Tea Bread

Cyclone Bianca (a fancy sounding tropical storm I think) is swirling around the Western Australia coast bringing small bursts of rain, thunder, and hot humid heat that makes the air thick with a misty haze. I barricaded myself in the apartment, reluctantly turning the air conditioner on and waited to see what would happen during my first ever cyclone experience.

Bianca sort of fizzled out so while I waited for the squally winds that never came, I baked to pass the time. I sorted through some old Gourmet magazines and came across one from years back, "The Island Issue" and marveled at how many recipes I had made out of it. That was during my tropical phase when I wanted to eat nothing but Jamaican food.

One recipe in particular caught my eye for a simple loaf of Coconut Bread. I baked it and changed it so much that it hardly resembles the original but I suspect I might have improved it. The same coconut base exists but I substituted all the regular flour with whole wheat. I infused the batter with ground cardamom, fragrant grapefruit zest, and a dash of rum extract. The original recipe calls for water but I thought plain yogurt would add some needed moisture. It came out beautifully, subtly sweet, and although I ate it plain I'm sure some butter and marmalade would be a superb addition.

For one loaf:
  • 4 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided
  • 2 cups whole wheat self-raising flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated grapefruit zest
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
Heat the oven to 350f (180c). Spread 3 cups of the coconut out on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and toasty, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.

In  a large bowl, stir together the ground toasted coconut, the remaining cup of untoasted coconut, the flour, and the cardamom.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the yogurt, zest and rum extract. Add in the coconut mixture and mix until just combined.

Grease a standard loaf pan. Spoon the batter into the pan and spread the top evenly with a spatula. Place in the center of the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn out of the pan and let cool completely.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your recipes make me so happy! And I love to read the stories behind them. I bought your SuperNatural Cooking book a few years ago and it is still one of my absolute favorites.

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