The recipe I am showing you here today is one of my favourite of all the quick breads that I make. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of cornbread. I also happen to love quick breads with dried fruit in them, especially raisins and cranberries . . . and add fennel seed to anything and I am so on it! I just adore that slight anise like flavour of fennel seed! This lovely bread incorporates those three loves of mine in a most delicious way!
The recipe comes from a cookery book that I have had for a long time. Entitled "The Best American Recipes, 2002-2003," it was the years top picks from books, magazines, newspapers and the internet. Its a wonderful source of all things delicious!
The original recipe appeared in Gourmet magazine, cook Gina Marie Miraglia, so I am guessing just from her name alone that it has Italian roots. The Italians like to use fennel seed and I, myself, always add some to my tomato sauces. I have even been known to just sit and chew on fennel seed. Like I said, I love it's flavour.
The batter is a pretty basic buttermilk cornbread batter, using fine cornmeal (like polenta) and just a hint of sweetness. The buttermilk makes is nice and moist . . . the combination of dried sultana raisins and dried cranberries, add another dimension of texture and some sweetness.
This is a bread that is wonderful for picnics and is not entirely out of place on a cheese board. Cheese goes beautifully with this. Especially a nice creamy blue . . . or a good cheddar. Try slices put together with cream cheese, as sandwiches. Yum! Cut into fingers they would be a wonderful addition to a Tea Party table!
The recipe makes two loaves, which is not really a problem, as I can't think of anyone who wouldn't love to receive the gift of one of these in a basket along with some conserve and a block of cream cheese, or even just a jar of honey butter. It also freezes well. Another quality I like about this is the fact that you can bake it up to three days ahead of when you want to use it!
You can also bake it as individual small loaves, which make for a beautiful presentation for luncheons, etc. However you choose to bake it or enjoy it, I think you will agree with me when I say that this is truly a winning quick bread recipe!
*Corn Bread with Fennel Seed, Cranberries & Sultanas*Makes 2 loaves
(8 X 4 X 3 inch)
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes (20 - 25 minutes or small loaf tins), or until the tops are golden brown and a skewe inserted in the centre of a loaf comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before tipping out onto the wire rack to cool completely.