Sweet Fruit and Spice Tea Bread

The particular combination of fruits and spices in this sweet bread gives it all the qualities of food that is fundamentally nourishing for everyone as the basis of digestion. The preparation time is longer than for many other desserts, but this one is worth it. It is a sweet, astringent, slighdy bitter dessert/breakfast bread good for nourishing all doshas. Although the ghee and the butter increase weight a bit, this delicious bread is very good for Vata and Pitta and nourishing for Kapha when eaten moderately.

Makes i large loaf

FOR THE FILLING

1/2 cup dried apricots 1/2 cup dried peaches J/2 cup pitted prunes

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cups chopped blanched almonds 1/2 cup poppy seeds 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

FOR THE DOUGH

2 tablespoons dry yeast (rapid rise-type works best)

1/4 cup granulated or raw sugar

1/2 cups heated apple juice

1/2 cup warm water

1/4 cup ghee or unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups whole wheat flour

3 to 4 cups unbleached white flour

FOR THE ICING

i tablespoon orange juice

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1. To make the filling, chop the dried fruit and place it in a i-quart bowl. Pour enough boiling water over the fruit to cover. Cover and let stand for 4 or 5 hours or overnight. Soak the fruit until very soft.

When you are ready to mix the bread, measure 2 cups of the softened, drained fruit into a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Stir everything well. Set it aside while making the sweet dough.

2. Preheat the oven to 35O0F.

3. To make the dough, blend the yeast, the sugar, the warm juice, and the water in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until frothy. Add the ghee, the lemon peel, the spices, the salt, and the whole wheat flour. Blend everything together and then stir vigorously for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the white flour a cup at a time until a stiff dough is formed.

4. Turn it out on a floured board and knead until it is smooth and not sticky, about 10 minutes. Wash the bowl and rub it with a little ghee. Put the dough in the bowl, spread a little ghee on top to keep it moist, and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let it rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch it down, cover, and let it rise again until double in bulk, another hour. Or let it make the second rising in the refrigerator overnight if you are baking it as breakfast bread for the next morning.

5. Punch the dough down and turn it out on a lighdy floured board. Roll into a long rectangle with a rolling pin. The size will be about 16 X 10 inches. Stir the filling again and spread evenly over the dough. Roll tighdy, beginning at the long end. Pinch the ends together to close. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover, and let it rise about an hour, or until it is evenly puffy.

6. Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top and sounds a little hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

7. To make the icing, mix the orange juice and the confectioners’ sugar together. Drizzle the icing over the top of the finished bread.

 

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