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Today I’m sharing a recipe for Bishop’s Bread, which is a Christmas fruit bread. We were first introduced to this over 30 years ago at our local university’s Christmas Madrigal Dinner. After combing cookbooks and the internet I cobbled a recipe together that’s very close to what we were served there, with only cherries and pecans. Except that I decided to put a lightly sweet glaze on top instead of the heavier powdered sugar icing that it’s usually adorned with.
Bishop’s Bread has a long history with various stories of how it got it’s name and where it originated. And there are about a bazillion recipes for it, too. Some are really stuffed with candied fruits and are more like what we would call a fruitcake, and others have chocolate chips in the mix. I’m partial to the version that I was served first, though. And as holiday breads go, this one is on the lighter side.
In my version, I chose to use dehydrated cherries because that’s what I had in the pantry. Feel free to use fresh or even frozen cherries. They would both work equally well. Make sure that you toss the cherries in a Tbsp or so of flour and add them after everything else is mixed well. That will keep them from “bleeding” and turning the dough pink. Unless, of course, you want pink dough, in which case just throw them in. 🙂
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OK, enough talk. This recipe makes one loaf, but it scales up really well. Here’s what you’re gonna need:
- ½ c butter (1 stick) at room temp
- 1 c dehydrated sugar cane juice (you can get that here)
- 4 eggs
- 2 ¼ c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt (and you can get that here)
- 1 c dried cherries (or 1 ½ cup fresh or frozen)
- 1 c chopped pecans (if you can’t get these locally you an order them here)
To learn about dehydrating your own foods, click here.
Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add the pecans and cherries and distribute evenly. Unless you’re using fresh or frozen cherries and you need to add them last.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and combine well.
Spoon batter into a buttered loaf pan and smooth the top. It’s quite a stiff batter, almost like a cookie dough. Hmmm…Bishop’s Cookies? Might have to give that a try!
Bake at 325° F for an hour and 15 minutes. Start checking at about an hour. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is a golden brown.
Glaze for Bishop’s Bread
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ Tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
Mix the glaze. I mix it up in a teacup, there’s not much to it. Brush on the top of the hot bread with a pastry brush.
Now, try to let it cool before you cut into it. 🙂
Its great warm or cold, with or without butter (but mostly with), and most definitely with a cup of tea!
If you double the recipe you can make 6 or 8 mini loaves. The minis make great holiday gifts for neighbors and friends. And I suspect it would make some way awesome French toast, but I’ve never had the chance to test that hypothesis. Maybe this year…