Raspberries may not really be in season at the moment, but they’re always in season in my kitchen because I keep several bags of them in the freezer at all times. You never know when you’re going to want to make a raspberry sauce, defrost them and stir them into yogurt or oatmeal, or bake them into a quick bread for a tasty snack. Clearly, I’ve taken the third option here and added my raspberries – frozen black raspberries, if you want to be specific – into this loaf.
The bread is moist and sturdy, as are so many quick breads, but manages to be both soft and tender in spite of that. It has quite an array of flavors, with the sweet-tart raspberries, bright orange juice and the buttery pecans. Since I opted to toast and chop the pecans, they lent a nice hint of crunch to the bread. I definitely prefer using smaller (i.e. chopped) nuts in place of whole or half pecans for ease of eating and even distribution in the bread. I used fresh blood oranges for the juice and zest, but any type of oranges will work well. As usual, I highly recommend using freshly squeezed juice if at all possible to get the very best flavor into your loaf. Serve it with coffee or tea, as breakfast or as a casual dessert/snack.
It is also worth noting that this bread keeps very well when stored in an airtight container or when very tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. I shipped loaves of it over the holidays (using 2 day air, mostly) and they arrived perfectly moist and stayed that way for several days afterwards.
If the raspberry pecan combination isn’t your cup of tea, you can always vary the add-ins with this recipe. In fact, it is just about the same one that I use for my Orange Cranberry Bread, so feel free to mix and match fruits, dried fruits and nuts until you come up with something you like.
Orange, Raspberry and Pecan Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
1 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) raspberries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In a small dry skillet, toast pecan pieces over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally during toasting and set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in in orange juice, orange zest, oil and egg and mix until just combined. Stir in raspberries and toasted pecan pieces. Spread evenly in prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.