At this busy time of the year we all need a little break; just a few minutes to put your feet up, exhale, and have a cup of tea before you get back to the non-stop preparations for the holidays. Here’s a quick little apple bread that will be lovely with that tea, or for breakfast, or to wrap as a gift for a friend. Make this today and your guests will thank you all the way through this busy month.
This recipe is from an old cookbook, “Beard on Bread”, written by American icon James Beard. Originally published in 1973, this little paperback is still a useful resource in today’s kitchen. It includes recipes and instructions for all kinds of bread; there is everything from basic yeast dough, egg breads, batter breads, rolls, flat breads, and quick breads to filled breads, fried cakes, and griddle breads. And it’s all written in Mr. Beard’s clear and approachable style. I took this recipe and tweaked it, ever so slightly. I peeled the apple, added a good measure of cardamom and some lemon zest and juice for seasoning, and dressed it up with a sweet lemon glaze. If you have time, let the finished, unglazed loaf sit, tightly wrapped overnight. Shortly before you want to serve the bread, apply the glaze and let it set. Slice, serve, and enjoy.
Apple-Walnut Quick Bread with Lemon Glaze
- 1 heaping cup of finely chopped, peeled fresh apple
- Finely grated zest and juice of ½ a large lemon
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
- For the Glaze
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 or 10 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, toss together the chopped apple with the grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside. Cream the butter until light, then stream in the sugar slowly. Beat until lemon-colored and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and the ground cardamom. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in the chopped apple mixture and the walnuts. The batter will be thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool the quick bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cook completely. If you have time, wrap the fully cooled loaf and allow it to rest overnight. Or, proceed to glaze the loaf after it has cooled.
- To make the Glaze: Combine the melted butter, confectioner's sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir to make a smooth glaze that will cling to the top of the loaf. Add extra lemon juice if required. Pour the glaze on top of the quick bread and spread to cover. It's okay if a little glaze drips down the sides. Allow the glaze to set, then slice and serve the loaf. Leftovers will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 5 days.