Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strawberry Bread

   My friend Chrissi Richards posted this amazing photo of some delicious strawberries. It got me thinking about my favorite strawberry recipes that I usually only get to enjoy this time of year. So, I went out today and bought A TON of strawberries.  First up on the agenda - Strawberry Bread. Then maybe a Strawberry Souffle, some Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes . . . .OK I'm getting carried away. Let's start with the Strawberry Bread. - Thanks for the inspiration Chrissi! :)
    I came up with this recipe back in 2010 when I bought an absurd amount of strawberries because they were on sale for an unheard of .69 cents a pound. So, I made this bread. It's like banana bread, but made with strawberries instead of bananas.  I made it as just a way to use up some strawberries, but now I buy strawberries specifically to make for this recipe. It's a family favorite and I hope it becomes one of yours too!

First things first, Preheat you oven to 350F.
You'll need to prep about 2 lbs of strawberries. You'll want 2 cups of strawberry puree and 2 cups of chopped strawberries.
After your strawberries are washed and dried, put some in the food processor (or blender if that is what you have). - I used about 4 cups of whole strawberries here, and I ended up with a little more puree than I needed.  BTW: there is no need to de-stem or de-hull the pureed strawberries. It's actually better for you if you leave them intact.
Blend the strawberries until they are completely smooth. Pour them into a 2 cup measure, so you have the food processor (or blender) available to chop the next batch of strawberries.
You'll need just shy of 3 cups of whole strawberries to end up with 2 cups chopped berries. I do de-stem these strawberries, since I am leaving them in visible chunks. Just pulse  the food processor until all the strawberries are chopped (about 12 quick pulses on my machine). Set these aside for later.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cups veg. oil (I used less since I added the extra strawberry puree I had), 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the 2 cups puree.
 Whisk to combine, then add 3 1/8 cup (3 cups plus 2 Tbsp) flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda sifted.
When everything is mixed, stir in 2 cups of chopped strawberries and 1 1/4 cups of chopped pecans (any nut would work here, but pecans are our favorite).
 Prepare 2 loaf pans by greasing them and coating the insides with powdered sugar (I actually like a lot of powdered sugar here, because it makes a yummy crust on the bread.
 Divide the batter between the two pans evenly . . .
My precious Angel Girl wanted to help me with the bread this morning - those are her adorable hands you see in the background. :)
and bake @ 350 for 50-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). The tops will be a little cracked, but that's o.k. They will shrink as they cool and you'll barely b e able to see the cracks anymore.
Cool in the pans . . .
 and then turn out - upside down. This will dry out the soggy bottoms and help the powdered sugar crust to firm up.
- My loaves needed some help turning out, so I ran a butter knife around the edges, and then they came out just fine.
 Cool completely before serving. (Or, if you don't mind what it looks like, you can dig in to the warm bread right now. It won't be very pretty, but it will sure taste good.)
I'm going to wait. :)

I was impatient, so I turned out my bread when it was still warm. The tops of my bread got slightly soggy, sitting on the cutting board. Use a rack if you have one, or just don't be impatient and let the bread cool completely in the pans. :) Once it's had time to dry out on the bottom, your bread should be crisp and yummy all the way around.

With a slight dusting of powdered sugar to hide any imperfections and it's ready!
Here's the recipe:

Strawberry Bread

3 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups pureed strawberries
2 cups chopped strawberries
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust 2 loaf pans with powdered sugar. Combine eggs, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and strawberry puree in a large mixing bowl. Add the sifted flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the chopped strawberries and nuts. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans, then turn out and let sit upside down for a few minutes to dry out the bottoms.

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