Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cranberry Orange Loaf

Shortly before Thanksgiving weekend, Matthew and I took out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related books from the library, to read as part of our homeschooling and as a lead-up to Thanksgiving weekend.    One of the books we loved most was called A Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wendy and Harry Devlin.  We actually read this book last year already, when we were working through part of a curriculum called Five In A Row...and we really liked the book then already.

The story is about a little girl, Maggie, who lives with her grandmother near a cranberry bog in New England.  Maggie and her grandmother each invite one lonely person to Thanksgiving dinner; the grandmother invites a prim and proper gentleman new to town, and Maddie invites the one person her grandmother doesn't like:  Mr. Whiskers.  As they ready themselves for the Thanksgiving feast, the grandmother pulls out her top-secret recipe for Cranberry Bread, and fills the house with its mouth-watering scent.  Dinner comes and goes, with their honoured guests.  As Maggie and her grandmother are cleaning up from dinner, Maggie notices that Mr. Horace is stealing her grandmother's famous Cranberry Bread recipe from where it is hidden...behind a brick of the fireplace in the dining room.  Though the grandmother first assumes that it is the horrid Mr. Whiskers that has stolen the recipe, the mess is finally sorted out, the recipe reclaimed, and Mr. Whiskers brought into the grandmother's favour for having rescued her treasure.  The story ends with another twist to learn from:  Maggie, her grandmother, and Mr. Whiskers are debating who shall have the last piece of pumpkin pie, and they decide to have compassion on poor Mr. Horace, who is whimpering outside, where he was banished for having attempted to steal the bread recipe.  They bring Mr. Horace back in from the cold, and give him the coveted piece of pie.

It is altogether a lovely story, with great artwork to top it off.  The best part, perhaps, is that the recipe for the Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread is included on the back cover of the book, and the reader is encouraged to make it.  So...we did.  And it was/is delicious.  Here is the recipe:

Grandmother's famous Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten (I tripled the recipe and used 4 eggs because my eggs were small)
1 tsp grated orange peel/zest (I used a bit more than this, and it was delicious)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins (I deleted this, not being a raisin fan, and just added a few more cranberries)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I used fresh, chopped up finely in my blender)

Sift flour, sugar, baking power, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl (note: I didn't bother sifting). Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice in all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist.  Fold in raisins (if using) and cranberries.

Spoon into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour, 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Here's the final product of a tripled recipe:

Wendy and Harry Devlin

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