Monday, 12 November 2012

Pecan and Maple Loaves


One of the things I find when I'm baking is that I tend to use something - whether a particular bake, method or ingredient - and develop it as a theme for a while. Both nuts and maple syrup have featured in a few of the things I've baked recently (see Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Tart, Walnut, Fig and Blue Cheese Tart and Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting). It helps me focus on developing my knowledge and techniques. This little recipe introduced me to the idea of candied nuts - which are strangely addictive to munch on and yet so easy to make. 


The recipe is adapted from the latest in the Great British Bake Off books 'Learn to Bake'. This is in a different format from its predecessors, and is very much aimed at the novice baker. There are lots of recipes though that would appeal to more advanced bakers, too. These little cakes are easy to make, but full of flavour. I've topped them with a simple icing glaze rather than the cream cheese topping used in the book.

Pecan and Maple Loaves

Ingredients (makes 8)

125g softened unsalted butter
50g light brown muscovado sugar
150ml maple syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
125g self-raising flour
100g pecan halves

For the glaze
About 125g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbspn maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 Conventional / 350 F / Gas 4. The recipe uses 8 cardboard mini loaf moulds - I got these ones from my local Asda, but you can get similar from Lakeland.

Pick out 8 nice pecan halves and set on one side. Chop the others - not too finely, as you want a bit of texture. Into 3 or 4 pieces is probably ideal.

Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and maple syrup, and then the flour. Mix until blended. Fold in the chopped nuts. Divide the mixture evenly among the moulds so that each is about two thirds full.


Place in the oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden, risen and springy to the touch.


Put the 8 reserved pecans into a bowl and mix with a tablespoon of the maple syrup. Spoon them onto a baking tray lined with parchment, and ensure the nuts are coated in the syrup. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Be careful as the syrup will have caramelised and will be extremely hot (so don't even think about dipping your finger in to taste it - you will get burnt). Leave until cold when the syrup will have formed a crisp coating.

Make the frosting by mixing the icing sugar with the maple syrup, and a few drops of water if it it too stiff. You want a thick, but spoonable, consistency. Pour over the loaves, making sure the tops are coated. Add a pecan half to the top of the cakes and allow to set.


It's a little tricky getting the cakes out from the moulds until you get the knack of undoing the seams carefully. You can then use a knife to loosen the icing from the cardboard. They'll then transfer easily to a plate.


Just ready for eating!

Enjoy,

Susie

10 comments:

  1. Such pretty little loaves. The candied pecans finish them off perfectly. I also seem to go through phases of using particular ingredients (it was almond in the summer and seems to be ginger at the moment) but I think it's more down to being obsessed with a flavour than developing my baking skills.

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    1. Thanks Jo - yes I know what you mean. I guess I get hooked on a flavour too, but then try and find different things to do with it. :)

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  2. The loaves look lovely and pecan and maple syrup is one of the best combinations? how do you find the new bake off book? And most importantly how many cook books do you have now? x

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    1. Thanks Miss C. I like the new book, but I think it definitely has a different feel - selling the wholesomeness of home baking with lots of pictures of energetic children playing outside! I'd much prefer pictures of the bakes, but there you go. I did get rid of some books a few months ago, but I suspect I have just bought replacements with new books, like GBBO, coming out. So shhh, but probably around 620. :) x

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  3. oh Susie, these are adorable... so pretty and I love the maple syrup, bet the kitchen aromas where mouth watering!

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    1. Yes, it was particularly tempting - and sadly I'm not really known for my patience, so had to do a second batch of candied pecans as the first were long gone! :)

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  4. They are so cute! I've seen those little loaf cases and now I really want to get some!

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    1. I think quite a few placed do them now - Asda and Sainsburys not to mention Lakeland. I was a bit dubious at first but am now a convert! :)

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  5. Aw I love your little mini loaves, they're so cute! and I just want to sink my teeth into that icing on top! it looks so yum!

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    1. Thanks Gem! How are you getting on in the land of Maple Syrup? :) x

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