My generous neighbour left me a big stash of groceries when she was moving out from Bangalore to Dubai, stuff she had been saving in her freezer, brought in from different parts of the world. Among other things, there was this bag of frozen cranberries. It has been staring at me in the eye, each time I open my freezer compartment and I've been wondering how to put them to good use. I have only eaten cranberries in dried form. The fresh berry in frozen form is MUCH tarter, something that will make you screw your eyes shut as your tastebuds tingle.
Cranberry pairs well with white chocolate, as the latter is intensely sweet and the sour of the berry adds such a perfect contrast to it. Orange is also an excellent partner to cranberries, bringing to the table, a mellower tartness and a beautiful citrusy fragrance.
This loaf can be made with rehydrated dried cranberries or with any other berries you can lay your hands on. Strawberries are in season in Bangalore now and you can chop them into bite sized pieces and use instead of cranberries.
The house was filled with the most amazing aromas when this loaf was baking. Who needs room fresheners, when you can bake your cake and have it too, really!
A bite from one slice had the right level of sweetness. The tartness of cranberries mellows down considerably after baking and the coating in a little sugar surely helped that along. The sweet bursts from the chocolate chunks felt so complimentary to the sour bursts of fruit. It made a perfect bite, beautifully balanced in flavours and boy, was it gorgeous to look at! These are my favourite kind of bakes, simple and delicious :) Do bribe one of your friends travelling abroad to get you a pack of cranberries or try them with what you find locally, you won't be disappointed at all!
Cranberry Orange Loaf
Makes 12 slices
2 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp oil
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of one orange
4-5 drops of orange oil flavouring (optional) or Use Vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, roughly chopped and tossed in sugar
1/2 cup mix of milk chocolate and white chocolate, chips or roughly chopped
Grease a loaf tin and keep aside.
Preheat oven to 175 C.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients until combined.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg with the oil. Add the orange juice, zest and orange extract and whisk well together.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir gently to combine, finally stirring in sugar coated cranberries and chocolate chips.
Scrape out the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake at 175 C (350F) in the middle rack, for 50 minutes to an hour, until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from oven,allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully, loosen the sides and turn it out on a cooling rack. Let it cool.
Slice and serve with a cup of tea.