I thought about calling this post "Refrigerator Bread" because the recipe is great for using up fruit that has outstayed it's welcome, but the more I thought about it, the less appealing that name sounded. "Ice box" sounds homey and fresh. "Refrigerator" conjures up a big humming machine which has an open box of baking soda in it for a reason.
Therefore, let me introduce Yankee Thrift Bread. The center is moist, rich with cinnamon and chock-a-block with baked fruit. The crust is slightly sweet and crunchy. And best of all the recipe is easy (one bowl, no mixer needed) and incredibly forgiving. How forgiving? The recipe started out as zucchini bread (from simplyrecipes.com) and was very good. The next time I made it I didn't have enough zucchini, so it became summer squash bread (mixing green and yellow). No one noticed the difference.
For several years I've made it as zucchini carrot bread. This version I always associate with camping trip breakfasts and early morning walks. The bread freezes well, which is great for that stretch in August where the world becomes overrun by zucchini. I did try zucchini, carrot and parsnips in one batch, thinking if one root vegetable works, another should too. Not quite. That batch was eaten, though I think it was by the squirrels.
So it's not that surprising that today when I realized I had an overripe pear, a bruised apple and dried figs from 2013 in my fridge, I considered throwing them in the compost bin, then thought better of it. What would be better on a gray, rainy day than cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and fruit?
Yankee Thrift Bread
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar - The recipe started out as 1 1/3 cups of sugar. I keep reducing the sugar each time I make it.
2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups fruit or veggies - For a smoother texture grate them. Dicing also works, though it makes the bread more likely to crumble. Whether to peal or not is a personal preference.
1/3 cup (or 6 tbs) melted butter
1/3 cup (or 6 tbs) apple sauce - If you don't have apple sauce on hand, you can double the amount of melted butter.
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3 cups all purpose flour - if you use a heavier flour you'll need to add more moisture
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup nuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).
- Grease two 5 x 9 inch loaf pans. A smaller size will also work, but the timing will need to be adjusted.
- In a large bowl mix eggs, sugar, vanilla.
- Mix in the fruit/veggies, butter, apple sauce.
- Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture.
- One cup at a time, add the flour and stir. If you do it all at once it will be very hard to incorporate. This is a thick, sticky dough.
- Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts (if using).
- Divide the batter between the two pans.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. I find the zuchini version takes longer to cook. You'll know they're done when the tops are golden and a fork stuck into the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes.