When I first saw blueberries sitting on the store shelves a few weeks ago, I almost couldn’t contain my squeal of excitement in a fit of tremendous delight.
I’d been eagerly waiting for their return; like old friends I haven’t seen in ages.
You know, like family members you run towards when you see them coming out of the arrival hall at the airport; like friends you hug with all your might because words alone are insufficient to express your love for them; or like the baby blanket you still sleep with because it makes you feel protected.
And so, when these little blueberries reappeared after months of absence, I jumped for joy.
When I finally got my hands on these beloved blueberries, I carefully opened the small square plastic box in which they came. These precious little gems had just made my day, not only because they taste of a delicate combination of both sweet and sour, nor because they look like pretty violet pearls.
But mostly, because they remind me of spring, the season which comes after winter, where cold and grey melts into bright colors and new life.
So once again, I was standing in the kitchen, warm from the heat of the oven, despite cold winter winds blowing outside. There I was, dreaming of spring, of color and of a loaf of moist blueberry almond bread.
This recipe was so tightly stuck in my mind that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Even before buying the ingredients, I’d already imagined the loaf in my mind, exactly how it would look and the taste of the ingredients combined together.
You see, I’d been dreaming up a recipe for a while already back then – one which called for the natural sweetness of brown sugar; fresh, bouncy blueberries; and crispy toasted almonds, all within a light, airy pound-cake inspired batter.
Like how we tend to fall back on the familiar, I followed a basic pound cake recipe that Juan’s mum had taught me in my early days of cooking, halved it and switched out the white sugar for light brown sugar – I wanted the bread to be tinged brown instead of yellow.
As for the almonds – among one of my favorite ingredients to use in cakes and cookies and sweet delights – they were first soaked in hot water, their skins wrinkled and then later peeled.
And finally, halved and toasted till a light caramel brown.
With the batter mixed and poured into a greased loaf pan, then generously sprinkled above with the toasted almonds and fresh, plump blueberries, I then pushed it gently into the oven, waiting for the magic to take place.
Nothing beats opening the oven door, my face flushed with the heat from the oven, and then pulling out the loaf of blueberry almond bread, exactly the way I’d imagined it to be.
Moist, full of flavor and color.
BLUEBERRY ALMOND BREAD (Makes 1 loaf)
This is an original Dish by Dish recipe
1) 1/2 cup of whipping cream
2) 1 cup of brown sugar
3) 1 1/2 cup of self-raising flour (or 1 1/2 cup normal flour & one teaspoon of baking powder)
4) 2 eggs
5) 150g of blueberries
6) 200g of almonds, halved and sliced
1) Soak almonds in hot water for 10-15 min
2) When the almond skins start to loosen, peel the skins off and slice almonds into halves
3) Toast almonds in oven at 180 deg cel for 10 min until a light caramel brown
4) Mix whipping cream with sugar until sugar is dissolved
5) Sift in self-raising flour and add in eggs
6) Mix well until you get a homogenous mixture
7) Pour in 3/4 of blueberries and 1/2 of the toasted almonds into batter and mix well
8) Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and arrange the rest of the blueberries and toasted almonds on top
9) Bake at 180 deg cel for 1 hour 15 min or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
10) Allow blueberry almond bread to cool before serving
Soak almonds in hot water for 10-15 minutes:
When the almond skins start to loosen, peel the skins off, and slice peeled almonds into half (along the vertical line):
Toast halved almonds until golden brown, then reserve aside:
Mix whipping cream with sugar until sugar is dissolved:
Sift in self-raising flour and crack in the eggs:
Mix until you achieve a homogeneous texture:
Add in 3/4 of blueberries and 1/2 the toasted almonds to to the batter, mix well:
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, and then arrange the rest of the blueberries and toasted almonds on top:
Bake at 180 deg cel for about 1 hour 15 minutes (or until a toothtick inserted in the middle comes out clean):