Claire’s Cranberry Walnut Bread from The Hermit of ChappaquiddickSteven Raichlen
“Claire attempted to plunge into the next chapter, but her mind was elsewhere. She closed her computer and went to the kitchen to bake a loaf of cranberry nut bread. She roasted the walnuts in a skillet to give them a smoky flavor and perfumed the batter with cardamom and freshly grated orange zest. While the bread was cooling, she found a card, wrote a note, and tied it to the pan with raffia.”
–From Chapter 8, “The Hermit’s Lair” in Steven Raichlen’s novel The Hermit of Chappaquiddick
Recipes from The Hermit of Chappaquiddick
Claire’s Cranberry Walnut Bread from The Hermit of Chappaquiddick
- Yield: Makes 1 loaf, enough to serve 6 to 8
- Equipment: 1 9- x 5-inch loaf pan
- 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus flour for the loaf pan
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for the loaf pan
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- The grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 2 to 3 oranges including the one grated for the zest)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pick through the cranberries, removing any stems or shriveled berries.
Step 2: Toast the walnuts in a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.
Step 3: Brush the loaf pan with melted butter, chill, brush it again with butter, and lightly dust it with flour.
Step 4: Sift the flour into a bowl, followed by the spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the brown sugar. Add the butter, egg, orange juice, and orange zest, and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and tap a couple times to dislodge any air bubbles.
Step 5: Bake the bread until puffed and browned and sounds hollow when tapped, 40 to 60 minutes. (When done, an inserted skewer will come out clean.)
Step 6: Unmold the cranberry bread onto a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes. Serve right away, or wrap in plastic and let “ripen” overnight at room temperature before serving. Slice with a serrated knife.