Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chocolate, cherry, black pepper bread

As I move on through some of the recipes in the new sugar and spice by Samantha Seneviratne, I continue to find many of her ingredient combinations enticing (and intriguing).  This one contains chopped dark chocolate, dried tart cherries and freshly ground black pepper, an idea that came to her after a glass of dark red wine that left her with those particular nuances of flavor.

 Although the title calls this a bread, Samantha then proceeds to call it a cake in her short intro to the recipe.  Call it what you will, the process is still the same.  Essentially a quick bread, the preparation is straight forward.

When doing the mise en place, pay attention to the room temperature ingredients (butter, eggs, sour cream, whole milk) since the mixing of the batter proceeds more smoothly when these things are indeed at room temp.  So plan accordingly.

Chop the chocolate and dried cherries and grind the black pepper ahead too.  

Always read the recipe through before starting, right folks?!

So get everything ready and mix away.

les ingredients

Heat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter and flour a medium (4 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch) loaf pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together 260 grams (2 cups) all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream 113 grams (1 stick) room temperature, unsalted butter with 170 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar; beat this for about 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy.

Add 2 room temperature eggs, one at a time, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Add half of the flour mixture and combine on low speed, then add 1/2 cup room temperature sour cream and 1/4 cup room temperature whole milk and blend.

Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and blend until just combined.

Fold in 65 grams (about 1/2 cup) chopped dark chocolate (choose what you like in the 50-64% cacao range) and 113 grams (about 3/4 cup) chopped dried tart cherries.

Place the batter in the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with raw sugar.

ready for the oven

love that sparkly crunch!

Bake this until golden brown and a cake tester poked into the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 50-60 minutes.

After a 15 minute cool down in the pan . . . .

turn it out onto a rack to finish cooling.


Of course Steve and I just had to do a taste test while it was still a bit warm, so I sliced into this chocolate and cherry studded beauty.

The crust was crisp and crunchy from the raw sugar, the interior moist with a dense crumb and the flavor divine with a delicious combo of chocolate and cherry.  The black pepper hit me on the finish -  a nice tingle on the tongue.

I must admit I was a bit shy about using the full 1/1/2 teaspoons of pepper in the recipe, but Steve encouraged me to go for it, being the savory chef in our home kitchen (and a prolific pepperer to boot).  He even suggested I add more.  Imagine that!

At any rate, for the first go-around with this recipe I found the peppery-ness to be subtly just right, but next time I won't be so shy.

Good stuff indeed.

Now just imagine it served warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla or chocolate ice cream and some chocolate crumble.  Oh yes.

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