Smoky Tea Prune Bread

By • February 1, 2011 9 Comments

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Author Notes: A few years ago, I stumbled on a terrific recipe for prunes preserved in smoky tea and Armagnac in "Perfect Preserves: Provisions from the Kitchen Garden" by the delightful Brit, Nora Carey. I’ve added quite a few different spices in my various iterations of the preserves, discovering along the way that the tea-soaked prunes hold their own well when paired with cardamom. This bread brings those flavors together in a new medium, with a few other spices, notably pink peppercorn, added. The glaze is strictly optional; if you don’t have (or don’t care for) Calvados, use Cointreau, or a bit of strong smoky tea instead. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Makes one loaf

  • 2 scant tablespoons Lapsong Souchong, Russian Caravan or other smoky tea
  • 10 oz. pitted prunes, coarsely chopped (1 cup, tightly packed, before chopping)
  • Scant ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds (from green pods)(See note below.)
  • ¾ cup barley flour (3 ounces, or 83 grams)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (approx 3 7/8 ounces, or 109 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup wheat germ (2 ¼ ounces or 65 grams)
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour (1 ½ ounces or 40 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns (or more, to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, plus a few drops for the glaze, if you’re making it
  • ½ teaspoon chopped (not grated) orange zest
  • 1/2 cup ghee (or oil)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (for the glaze)
  • 3-4 teaspoons Calvados, Cointreau, smoky tea or orange juice
  • Tiny pinch of grains of paradise (or ground cardamom) (optional)
  1. Steep the tea leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain immediately and cover the prunes with it. It's best to do this in a two or four-cup measuring cup.
  2. Grind the cardamom seeds and sprinkle half on the prune mixture. (See note below.) Stir well and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Into a large mixing bowl, sift the barley flour, all-purpose flour, coriander, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add the wheat germ, whole wheat flour, the crushed pink peppercorns and the remaining cardamom. Stir well to combine.
  4. Grease a medium loaf pan with oil or butter.
  5. When the prunes have soaked for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Press down on the prunes in the measuring cup and add enough whole milk to make a scant 2 cups.
  6. In a blender, puree the prune and milk mixture until smooth, leaving a some small bits of prune.
  7. Add the orange zest, vanilla, ghee or oil, sugar and eggs and blend again until thoroughly combined.
  8. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid mixture into it and fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture quickly, just enough to combine the ingredients.
  9. Turn into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the blade of a thin paring knife comes clean when inserted. (Or you can gently tap the top center with your index finger. If it readily springs back, it’s time to take the loaf out.)
  10. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.
  11. To make the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of Calvados (or whatever other liquid you are using) and a couple drops of vanilla to the sugar and stir well. Add the crushed grains of paradise or additional cardamom, if using, and more liquid, ¼ teaspoon at a time, stirring well after each addition, until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
  12. When the loaf is still slightly (but not too) warm, glaze the top.
  13. Slice and serve with smoky tea.
  14. Enjoy!! ;o)

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