Good pottery just calls to me. I have far too much of it and nowhere to put it. But who can resist a birthday bread-baker, discovered in the sunshine and handed over with a collection of homemade bread recipes?
Well, not me, obviously, since here it is.
This is strawberry tea bread – the only recipe in the collection that could be considered dessert – and it has been the nicest baking surprise of the year so far, I think. Mostly because anything baked in a pottery cooking pot is inherently delightful, and that is the end of it.
Start with strawberries. The recipe calls for 10 oz of frozen strawberries, but I thought that fresh ones would work better, even though they’re not in season. We found a box of astonishingly huge, aptly named ‘King Strawberries’ on sale at the supermarket. They also worked jolly well as an ice lolly.
Chop your strawberries into small, cake-friendly pieces and mix with two beaten eggs. Then add flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and a hefty amount of cinnamon. Finally you add melted butter, which, to my relief, bound the dry and strawberry-heavy mixture into cake batter. And it fit in the bread-baker very nicely.
As usual with anything involving fruit, it takes an age to cook – an hour and fifteen minutes, according to the recipe, but an hour and thirty in my whimsical oven – but it looked marvellous when it emerged. It was squashy and hard to cut into slices, but yum, yum, yum.
Dear pottery sellers, this isn’t bread at all: this is cake. But reclassifying it meant we could get out the cream, so all is forgiven.
I’m sure they’d be delighted to find more strawberry tea bread in the world – they looked like lovely people, anyway – so here’s the recipe.
Strawberry Tea Bread
1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
10 oz frozen/fresh strawberries (if you use frozen, thaw them and save the juice to use in the cake batter)
2/3 cup melted butter
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
Beat eggs. Add chopped strawberries (plus juice, if using frozen), then add dry ingredients and melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
Pour into well-greased bread-baker. Place in cold oven and set temperature to 180°C.
Bake for 1 hr 15 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing from bread-baker.
Don’t eat it all at once. Ok, you can if you like.