“I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”
(five points if you can guess the movie)
It’s February, and soon NYC will be painted pink and red and boxes of chocolate and racy lingerie will be put to good use in the throws of holiday romance. Where will yours truly be this year? Jury’s still out. I actually dated a man for about 8+ years and I think we celebrated Valentines Day maybe twice? I have a thing with forced romance or commercially-fueled celebrations. All I know is the bottle of champagne I have still from one of the wineries on the South Fork will probably make an appearance.
But, heck, baking is what I do and celebrating with food is what I love, so it’s fitting that this month’s BlogHop theme, of which I’m excited to be one of the cohosts for the first time, is Chocolate!
I use chocolate (and carob) all the time: fair-trade, organic and usually vegan as I can then be assured of the dairy-free aspect. I’m a big fan of extremely dark varietals, decked with spices or infused with flowers. I ate my fill at the NY Chocolate Fest a few months ago, where I grabbed Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate, which I have been pouring over with hungry eyes (check out my Spicy Mexican Mulled Wine Cocoa play on one of his recipes).
I don’t think chocolate has to always be the center of the sweet, though, so when stretching my cranium for my bloghop contribution, I wanted a rich, spicy and subtle alternative to the abundance of chocolate this time of year. Luckily, Young is a master at making a variety of complex, versatile chocolate desserts – I highly recommend his book as a present for the Valentine in your life.
The result? This tea bread is of my new favorite recipes, and one that will be a staple in my hosting repertoire. I bake delicious things all the time, but this I will serve with particular love. Laden with fruit captured perfectly in a dense, spicy cake, the chocolate compliments the other flavors and the tongue finds it in just the right moments. It’s solid without being heavy. Exactly what you want in a fun take on a traditional British tea bread. I’ve adapted it to be gluten free and, if you use dark chocolate, it’s naturally dairy free in Young’s original recipe. I adjusted here and there for what I had in my pantry and to make sure the gluten-free flours could hold up. I used puer tea as a nod to my friend Louis, who’s visiting from out of town and with whom I first drank puer years ago in San Francisco. I’ve given slices of it out wrapped in parchment like little gifts from a Dickens novel.
Sh*t, I’m getting all romantic. Here’s the blasted recipe.
Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread
Note: you need to soak the fruits overnight!
- 1 cup / 5.5 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
- 2/3 cup organic seedless red raisins
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- zest of one large orange
- 6 Tbsp organic light brown sugar – Young suggests muscovado, which is divine but more expensive. Take your brown sugar a step up and buy organic and it will have a flavor and texture more on par with muscovado)
- 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong tea – I used puer, which is a very dark, earthy tea. Have fun with any spicy, strong black tea you like
- 1 large organic egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature and beaten extremely well
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 3.5oz bar 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used Divinebecause it’s fair-trade, 1 bar is exactly 3.5 oz, it’s not overly expensive and I hadn’t tried it before.
- In a medium bowl, combine ginger, raisins, nutmeg, orange zest, brown sugar and tea. Mix to combine, cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325° and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment.
- Add beaten eggs to fruit and mix thoroughly. Add flour and incorporate completely. Stir in dark chocolate.
- Pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 80-90 minutes, cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan.
Young suggests wrapping the cooled cake in clean parchment and a kitchen towel and letting it sit for 24 hours. He overestimates the layman’s patience, I believe. I cut into this baby 1 hour after it was done baking and it was divine, but the wrapped pieces did taste even richer then next day.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…