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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Red Currant Rosemary Bread

This past weekend, I was chatting with a friend, Tasha, who told me she bought a pint of red currants at the farmers market and asked if I had any suggestions for what to do with them. Currants, which are at their seasonal best right now, have a pleasantly tart flavor and can be used in a host of different ways (in the UK and other parts of Europe, where currants are especially popular, they are often used to make jam or jelly) but the savory-sweet rosemary currant bread that I had experimented with last summer immediately came to mind.

I sent her this recipe and asked her to let me know how it came out. She wrote me an email yesterday after she had made it and said, "I like it a lot! It has a surprising flavor. It was an interesting mix of tart, sweet and earthy and then some good crunch with the walnuts." Tasha also told me that she had substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil, an idea that I loved. Sometimes olive oil has too pronounced of a flavor to use in baked goods, but since this bread has a definite savoriness and earthiness to it, the use of olive oil makes perfect sense.

So I took Tasha's suggestion and tried out the bread last night with the substitution of olive oil for vegetable oil. I had a slice for breakfast this morning and was very happy with the outcome. Thanks, Tasha!

Also, to note, make sure to finely mince the rosemary for this dish. Bigger pieces of rosemary can be overpowering and can have an almost bitter flavor. A fine mince will make sure you get a nice rosemary-infused flavor throughout the bread.

Red Currant Rosemary Bread

2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. toasted, cooled, chopped walnuts
1 c. red currants, stems removed
1 TBSN finely minced fresh rosemary
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl combine the first 8 ingredients. In another bowl whisk together the milk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Transfer to a buttered 9" x 5" loaf pan and back for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 1 hour before slicing.

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