Cranberry Nut Bread with Crumb Topping

It’s that time of year when fresh cranberries grace the aisles of American supermarkets.  The growing season for cranberries ends in mid-November, so I thought I’d better grab a few bags for myself before they are all gone. After all, I wouldn’t want to miss out on making my annual fresh cranberry recipe (not to mention all the healthy vitamins that cranberries provide)!

To honor the brief fresh cranberry season, I decided to make Cranberry Nut Bread with chopped pecans. This no-yeast bread is easy to make and is flavored with orange zest and orange juice. But to go that one step further, I made a crunchy topping made of finely diced cranberries, orange peel, pecans and butter/brown sugar mixture- a perfect recipe for Fall!

Cranberry Nut Bread with a crunchy topping
Serves 8
Cranberry nut bread flavored with an undercurrent of orange juice and orange peel- with a crumb topping to give an added crunch.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. ¾ cup sugar
  2. 6 tbsp softened butter
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  5. ½ tsp baking soda
  6. 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. 1 egg
  9. ¾ cup orange juice
  10. 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  11. ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts preferred)
For the crunchy topping
  1. 3 tbsp pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  2. 3 tbsps cranberries, finely chopped
  3. Peel from ½ orange, diced
  4. 2 tbsp flour
  5. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  6. 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into pebble-sized cubes
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cream together the sugar and softened butter using electric beaters. Add the baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, salt, egg and orange juice. Combine until smooth. Coarsely chop the cranberries and nuts either by hand or by food processor (be careful not to over-process), then fold into the mixture. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled rectangular bread pan.
For the crunchy topping
  1. Finely chop the nuts and cranberries using a food processor. Remove the peel from ½ orange, being careful to avoid the white pithy part, then finely dice. Combine the chopped nuts, cranberries and diced orange peel. Add the flour, brown sugar and cold butter cubes. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cranberry bread dough and bake for around 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Flaky Mexican Empanadas

Since I had some dough left over from my previous post Dutch Apple Pie, I decided to make some Mexican Empanadas. These empanadas are flaky, tender and full of flavor- you can use them as a main course, an accompaniment at breakfast time, or for a snack  when you open the fridge bleary-eyed at 1:00 am looking for something to eat.

‘Empanada’ comes from the Spanish word empanar which means ‘coated in bread’, but I think of them as being like a ‘turnover.’ Originating in Spain, empanadas are now served in many countries, including Argentina, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Even Australia  has its own version of an empanada with its meat and vegetable-filled pasty. Imagine my embarrassment when I first came to Australia in 1979 and asked for a pastie- I was quickly told that the correct pronunciation is pah-stie!

I’m calling my recipe a ‘Mexican empanada’ because I’ve used ingredients such as Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo, jalapeño peppers, cumin and Mexican chili powder. Mexican pork chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo since it is sold raw in a casing and must be cooked before eating.

Mexican Pork Chorizo

The Process

To assemble the empanada, first roll-out 50 grams (3 tbsps) of dough into a small circle, then place several tablespoons of the meat filling in the middle of the circle.

Next, fold the dough in half, neaten-up the raw edges using a knife and then press the raw edges together firmly. Crimp the ends of the dough either using the tines of a fork or ‘fluting’ the ends like a pie crust.

Or, maybe you are brave enough to try the repulgue technique, which is so pretty:

Finally, brush each empanada with an egg wash and bake at 420 F (215 C) until golden in color. And please let me know how your empanadas turn out- I am dying to know!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog- you give me inspiration to keep on going to explore the fascinating world of food!

Flaky Mexican Empanadas
Yields 12
A flaky and flavorful Mexican 'turnover'- also known as an Empanada
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For the filling
  1. 1-2 tbsps oil
  2. 1 lb lean beef
  3. ¼ lb Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo
  4. ½ onion, diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  7. jalapeño or red chili pepper, diced
  8. 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Splash of cumin
  11. Splash of Mexican chili powder
For the dough
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsps (150 g) cold butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg combined with splash of water
To prepare the empanada filling
  1. Over medium-high heat, cook the chopped onion, garlic, red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper in oil until the veggies turn soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add the lean beef and Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo and fry until brown. The chorizo is rather fatty so the mixture will turn rather liquid and ‘bubbly.’ Add the can of diced tomatoes and season with salt, cumin and Mexican chili powder- adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Let cool completely before adding the filling to the prepared dough.
To prepare the dough
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand.
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of ice cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until it forms a firm ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
To assemble the empanadas
  1. Remove dough from fridge and divide into balls weighing about 50 grams (3 tbsps) each. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each ball into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Add 2-3 tbsps of the filling into the center of each dough circle, fold the dough in half then press the bottom edges of the dough together with your fingers. Crimp the bottom edges together using the tines of a fork or fluting the edges as you would do in making a pie.
  2. Brush each empanada with the egg wash and bake at 420 F (215 C) for 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. Serve warm with a little tomato sauce or salsa on the side.
Notes
  1. If you can't find Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo in your supermarket, substitute regular pork (or beef) and increase the amount of cumin and Mexican chili powder seasoning in the recipe.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/