Festive Loaf Cake with Winter Fruit Compote
14 to 16 servings
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, unsifted and unbleached
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cups C&H® Granulated Sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, finely grated
- 4 small navel oranges
- 1 large D'Anjou pear, ripe, firm, peeled, cored and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 medium red apple, crisp, cored and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup C&H® Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 1/4 cups pomegranate seeds (about 1 large pomegranate)
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F if pan has a dark finish). Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Adjust rack in lower third of oven.
Using fingertips, blend together dried fruits and walnuts in a small bowl; set aside. Sift flour and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add sugar; continue beating until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape bowl occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla.
At very low speed, add the flour mixture; stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Gently fold in orange zest, then dried fruit-nut mixture. Spoon batter into loaf pan and spread evenly.
Bake for at least 55 minutes, until golden, or when a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, and cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Cool upright in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Using a sharp knife, remove peel and all bitter white pith from oranges. Working over a medium bowl, cut out the orange sections between the membranes; set aside. Cut pear and apple halves into 4 strips; then cut these strips crosswise into 3/4-inch slices, and transfer pear and apple slices to a medium bowl.
In a 2 1/2 quart, non-reactive saucepan, stir orange juice and sugar together. Over medium-high heat, bring just to boiling and add prepared pear and apple pieces; add cranberries. Simmer mixture over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or just until pear and apple pieces are fork-tender (but still hold their shape.) With slotted spoon, remove fruit from pan and put in a bowl.
Bring remaining syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Turn off heat; cool 10 minutes. Pour over prepared fruit. Gently toss in orange sections and any juice remaining in bowl. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over compote.
To serve, place a tablespoon of compote over half a cake slice, or next to a slice of cake. Makes about 4 cups of compote.
Featured by Elizabeth Falkner.