Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dry Fruit Yeast Bread/Cake

The first time I ate fruit cake was about 2 decades ago in India. It was made for Christmas by one of the friend's mother. It was so eggy that even when I liked all the dry fruits and nuts that went into the cake, I couldn't eat it. From that day on, I do not take the fruit cake when offered. I was going through one of the Betty crocker books that I have and there was a sweet yeast dough recipe. I adapted that to make this dry fruit cake kind of bread. I was planning to use some tutti fruity, but had none on hand. You could use different colored glazed cherries to make it even more colorful. Use your favorite nuts or even some shredded coconut. I do not have any pictures of the sliced cake since it was sent to work and it was still warm when I took the pictures.

One Year Back - Eggless Pecan Pie bars, Coconut Almond cookies, Green Mango Apple Gojju

All purpose flour - 5 cups (start with 4 1/2 cups and use the remaining only if needed)
Warm Water - 1/2 cup
Warm Milk - 1/2 cup
Sour Cream or Yogurt - 1/2 cup  room temperature (You could use 2 eggs in its place)
Shortening - 1/2 cup (Or butter at room temperature)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Instant yeast - 4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Black Raisins - 1/2 cup
Golden Raisins - 1/2 cup
Sweetened dried cranberries - 1/2 cup
Broken Cashews - 1/2 cup
(Or a mixture of your favorite dry fruit and nut mixture - 2 cups)

For the glaze:
Confectioner's sugar - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Hot water or milk - 2 - 3 TBSP

In a bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Let it froth for about 5 - 10 minutes. Add warm milk, sour cream, shortening, sugar and whisk together. Add salt and the flour and beat with a strong wooden spoon. When you can no longer move the spoon, start kneading the dough by hand. The dough has to be supple, elastic and not sticky. Do not use more than 5 cups of flour. Knead for about 10 minutes. Dump all the dried fruits and nuts on to the dough and work them into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes. You could go through the whole process of rising it twice and then shaping, but I felt that was not really necessary. Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with vegetable oil spray. Grease your hands and form the dough into a disc of about 10 inches in diameter. Make a hole in the center and slip it through the tube of the bundt pan. Push the dough so that it covers the whole pan evenly. Cover with a greased plastic wrap and let rise for an hour or till the dough has reached the crest of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (In my case 350 F since I was using a dark non stick pan). Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or till the exposed part of the bread/cake is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on the wire rack. You could either dust with powdered sugar or glaze like I did.
To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and the milk or water to a pouring consistency. Let sit for about 5 minutes before spooning on the cooled cake/bread. When I poured the glaze, the bread had not cooled down at all. My husband was taking it to work and was in a hurry. Glaze did not set properly because of that.
This goes to Susan's yeastspotting.

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