Well kids, you know I am always up for a challenge ... especially when there's prize money involved!
Regular readers know that I tend to favor the savory over the sweet side of life, but I kept thinking about one much-maligned holiday food item: the fruitcake. I am not here to defend it - I think the things are generally an abomination, thanks in no small part to those freakishly bright bits of candied fruit scattered throughout the overly dense crumb.
But what if they were filled with juicy bites of non-candied fruit, and made with nutty brown butter and good bourbon, and spiced just right with clove, cinnamon, allspice and ginger? And, instead of being dense bricks, what if they were light and fluffy, and sort of cake-y? In that case, you would have an un-fruitcake, which is what I have made here: a blueberry, bourbon, and brown butter spiced cakebread:
And the smell of this beauty baking is pure holiday.
Blueberry, Bourbon, & Brown Butter Spiced Cakebread
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half combined with 1/2 cup water
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup brown butter, cooled*
3/4 cup frozen blueberries (still frozen)
*To brown the butter, cook unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon chunks, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the butter turns brown and begins to smell nutty, remove from the heat, transfer to another container, and allow to cool.
Grease and lightly flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and sugar. In another bowl, combine the half and half water mixture, beaten egg, bourbon, and cooled brown butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until combined. Gently fold in the frozen blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula, and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat while warm, and store the leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Even though I am not a dessert person, I do occasionally like sweets with my coffee in the morning, and this is the perfect holiday breakfast.
If you can't get enough of all things blueberry, visit the Blueberry Council's Web site for more sweet and savory recipes.
And don't worry: You don't have to go vote for me. The winners of the competition will be chosen by a panel of food professionals and announced on January 15. Good luck to all of the participants!