Blueberry Quinoa Bran Loaf with Strawberry Chili Butter
Nutty, sweet and moist Blueberry Quinoa Bran Loaf makes for a great treat. Serve it with a sweet and spicy butter-fruit spread and you’re a kitchen super star.
I know, I know, ‘how can you bake in this heat?!’ I bake early, before the house gets too hot. When I’m really serious I pre-prep my ingredients the night before and cover them with plastic wrap on the counter so it’s a quick mix and go at 5:30am. Originally this Blueberry Quinoa Bran Loaf was supposed to be Blueberry Quinoa Bran Muffins but then I thought ‘hey, didn’t I just do Blackberry Goat Cheese Muffins with Lemon Sugar and Thyme last month?’ So into the loaf pan it went, I mean a gal has to deliver a little variety!
This is my answer to the question of ‘what can I do with leftover quinoa’. I love baking with quinoa, it makes whatever I’m working with moist and lends a nice, nutty flavour. If you’re new to quinoa give it a try, it’s an easy grain to work with.
How To Cook Quinoa:
Combine 1 cup of quinoa with 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a low and simmer, covered for 12 – 15 minutes until grain bursts into a tender curl and water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, use as needed.
The yield is about double, as a general guideline.
The Strawberry Chili Butter is my way of using up the last of a flat of strawberries. I love to do unique compound butters and spreads in the pro kitchen so I thought I’d do a test run of something new and interesting at home. Strawberries are a little too wet and acidic to bind well with the butter to make it a true, moldable compound butter. The texture is slightly grainy once it cools but the taste is smooth and creamy, with powerful fruit flavour and a sweet kick of Asian heat.
This is double yum-alicious, however I might offer a word of caution. One might wish to refrain from combining bran, quinoa and chilies in large quantities with their morning coffee just prior to taking the canine for the obligatory morning constitutional. Oh, the power of fiber!
Blueberry Quinoa Bran Loaf Recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 – 50 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
1 cup buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (plus 2 teaspoons to finish loaf)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Strawberry Chili Butter
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 Thai sweet chillies, minced seeds in (or to taste)
squeeze of lemon
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1. For Blueberry Quinoa Bran Loaf – preheat oven to 350F (200C). If you haven’t already done so, cook quinoa as noted above. Coat loaf pan liberally with butter or spray well with non-stick spray.
2. In small bowl combine eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and give it a good beat to mix. In separate larger bowl combine dry ingredients; bran, cooked quinoa, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Take about 2 tablespoons of the flour mix and toss it together with your blueberries to coat (this will ensure they don’t bleed in teh mix.)
3. Combine wet mix with the dry mix using a rubber spatula, folding to combine. Give it about three or four stirs before adding your blueberries to teh batter. Mix until JUST combined. Don’t overmix. Pour entire mix into prepared pan. Top with extra brown sugar for a sweet crunchy top. Place loaf pan on a baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. (The baking sheet is just in case your loaf pan overflows, you wouldn’t like me very much if I made you clean the oven…)
4. Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack completely before you run the tip of a knife around the edge to unmold and cut. If you can stand the temptation, fridge it for an hour for best slicing. But hey, who are you feeding The Queen of England?! No, it’s probably just family and friends, I think they can cope with a few crumbs.
1. For the Strawberry Chili Butter. While the loaf is baking, slice fresh strawberries and pop them into in a small, heavy bottomed pot along with sugar over medium heat. Stir as strawberries begin to macerate and syrup starts to form, add your chillies, stir well, then reduce heat to low and cook to reduce fruit to a loose jam. Add squeeze of lemon as you remove from heat to cool completely. (To hurry this along I put the pot in the freezer for a few minutes.)
2. Whip you room temperature butter in a small bowl with either a spatula or your mixer. Mix it until it’s light and about double in volume. Then blend the cool strawberry chili jam into the butter, adding about a third at a time, until incorporated to a chunky, brightly coloured spread. Place the butter-fruit spread in a container and chill until needed.
In this heat I suggest you fridge the leftovers, as you have an all natural product here with no preservatives so it’s best to keep it refrigerated in the heat. Still moist and delicious three days later.