"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home."
- Edith Sitwell
It’s December 5th and Christmas in only 20 days away. Where has this year gone? The humid days of summer slipped into a warm autumn and then in the blink of an eye they, too, were gone.
We had our first real snowfall last night. It was only about an inch or less, but on the dog walk this morning everything was covered in a quiet white blanket. It’s funny how even a little snow seems to mute the noise of daily life. It’s like the world has paused and taken a breath.
With the snow comes temperatures below 0°C. And when you’re not used to it, it can take you aback. A’back all the way to bed under a woollen blanket. But no such luck for me. If I sleep during the day I do not at night. I seem to have enough trouble with that these days without the extra help of a nap.
So what does one do to get that feeling of warmth without a trip to bed? I find baking does the trick. The feeling you get from a warm blanket is the feeling of home, of love, of comfort. The same holds true for a tried and tested old time recipe. My copy of this recipe is stained from use and scribbled on as I modified quantities and ingredients to get it to where it is today.
Living in the country has many benefits (as well as drawbacks). But one of the greatest benefits is the wild food you can find, if you’re willing to look. The foraged part of this recipe is the cranberries. Living close to a lake with many pockets of bog you’re bound to find cranberries. They're best after a frost or two has hit them. A few weeks ago I picked about 4-5 cups on a dog walk with my boy. He had the benefit of running around off-lead exploring to his heart’s content, and I had the benefit of harvesting some free fruit.
Nothing tastes as good as food you have harvested yourself, or something fresh from the oven made with your own hands. Couple that with a very easy recipe (yes, cake can be easy), and you have something to warm your heart as you warm yourself by the fire.
R E C I P E
Lemon Glazed Cranberry Walnut Loaf
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup small walnut pieces
1 tbs flour
1-2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
enough icing sugar to make a thin glaze that runs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9” x 5” loaf pan.
Wash the cranberries and gently shake to get rid of most of the water. Place them with the walnut pieces in a small bowl. Toss with the tablespoon of flour to coat. This step helps the nuts and berries stay suspended in the batter when baking and not all sink to the bottom.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. This may take up to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to incorporate after each addition.
Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix just until it is incorporated. Then add 1/2 the milk, then repeat with remaining, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk and 1/3 flour. Do not over-beat. Mix at each stage until the ingredient is just combined. Then fold in the nuts/cranberries mixture and lemon zest.
Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top, taking care to make sure the batter fills the corners of the pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Without removing the cake from the tin, poke holes over the to with the toothpick. Mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar. Brush the glaze over the top of the loaf. Let cool and remove from the pan. If you can’t get the loaf out that’s perfectly fine. Individual slices come out easily.
If you do want to present the loaf at the table uncut, remove it from the pan onto a serving dish before glazing. But if you do, some of the glaze will just drip off the loaf.
#comfortfood #cakerecipe #cranberry #cranberryloaf
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