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Breads, Desserts

Cranberry almond tea bread

Cranberry almond tea bread
Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

The holidays are the time of year when dessert finally takes on as much importance as the main course. Neighborhood gatherings, office parties and family get-togethers coax us into the spirit of the season with high-piled platters of sweet irresistibles. ... Read more

Active work time: 25 minutes | Total preparation time: 1 1/2 hours | Serves 8

Batter

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes; plus melted butter for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 (heaping cup) fresh or frozen cranberries

Step 1Lightly coat 9x5-inch loaf pan with melted butter and set aside.

Step 2Cream butter, baking soda and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the sugar, turn the mixer to medium, and mix 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Turn mixer to low and add egg yolks, 1 at a time. Add almond extract and lemon juice, and mix until just combined.

Step 3Add flour and yogurt alternately in 3 batches and mix on low until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and transfer batter to large bowl.

Step 4Wash and dry bowl of electric mixer. Using whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low until frothy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn mixer to medium and beat another 2 to 3 minutes until soft peaks form. Turn mixer to high and gradually add remaining sugar and beat until shiny and stiff, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 5Stir half of egg whites into batter to loosen it. Fold in remaining egg whites, then fold in cranberries.

Step 6Pour batter into pan, smooth evenly and set aside.

Assembly

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced unblanched almonds

Step 1Whisk egg white until frothy in medium bowl. Stir in sugar and almonds. Pour topping onto batter and spread evenly over surface.

Step 2Bake at 350 degrees until topping is nicely browned and loaf is firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Halfway through baking, check loaf. If it has cracked through the topping, press it down with the palms of your hands to deflate and continue baking. You should have a solid, crispy nut surface.


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