Rhubarb Cherry Loaf Bread

Jamie and I had a great time on our road trip over the weekend - and I'll add that with every road trip, I get better at splitting sunflower seeds with my teeth.  Maybe one of these days I'll be able to work a whole handful at a time, but for now, it's just one seed at a time.  :)

We spent a lot of time with his parents, and his sister and her family, checking out local spots, watching fireworks, and just hanging out relaxing.  We ate BBQ pork, cooked low and slow in his dad's smoker, smoked salmon, grilled salmon, and salmon cooked on a salt block, venison sausage, and lots of rhubarb pie with ice cream.

It's amazing to me that something like rhubarb, being so tart raw and looking so strangely like celery can taste so much like apples when it's sweetened and cooked.  Jamie's parents gave me some freshly cut stalks of rhubarb from their garden to take home, so I was eager to experiment with a few recipes since I've never cooked with rhubarb before.

My thought was to cook a compote out of the rhubarb and some fresh cherries I picked up at a produce truck on the drive back, and then use the rhubarb puree to create a moist and aromatic bread.  I have a fantastic recipe for pumpkin bread which uses pumpkin puree, so with a little tweaking, I revised the recipe to use even more of the rhubarb puree, decreasing the sugar and oil in the recipe to allow for the added liquid. 

The bread baked so beautifully, nicely browned on top with a crust on either end and moist and soft inside, studded with tart cherries and flavorful with rich spices.  Eat it plain, or spread it with some lemon curd or jam.  This would be a wonderful recipe for fall to have with a cup of hot apple cider!

Printable Recipe

Rhubarb Cherry Loaf Bread
  • 2 cups cooked rhubarb puree (recipe below)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spray two non-stick loaf pans with cooking spray.

Combine the rhubarb puree, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and water in a large mixing bowl; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the dried cherries).  While mixing on low speed, add the flour mixture a spoonful at a time.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, and stir in the cherries by hand.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake at 350 for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then invert onto the wire rack.  Turn bread right side up on the wire rack and cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel to cool completely before slicing or wrapping.

Rhubarb Cherry Compote
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until fruit is softened and sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  You can use the compote just as it is if you like;  what I did was to separate two cups of the rhubarb puree from the whole cherries and remaining rhubarb puree.  I wanted to use the puree in the bread recipe above, and saved the whole cherries with puree for another recipe still to come...

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