The stores are full of oranges, clementines, and tangerines, and when I found a recipe for Tangerine Nut Bread in Quick Breads by Beatrice Ojakangas, I decided to give it a whirl. I had recently made her Cinnamon Pear Tea Bread, and it was so good I was up for trying another of her recipes.
I actually had minneolas on hand, which are a type of tangerine with a knob-like bump at one end, so I used those. They are incredibly sweet and juicy and easy to peel. I also made one change in the recipe. After baking, the warm bread is bathed in a mixture of sugar and tangerine juice, and I decided to add in a bit of brandy, just to give it that je ne sais quoi. The bread came out beautifully, and here is the recipe:
Brandy Tangerine Nut Bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated tangerine rind
1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1 tablespoon brandy
3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour one 8-1/2 x 4-1/2″ loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar until blended. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy and light. Add the tangerine rind. In another bowl, stir the 1-1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt together. Toss the walnuts with 1 tablespoon of flour until all the pieces are lightly coated. Blend the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Fold in the walnuts. Turn into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, combine the juice and sugar in a small pan and heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the brandy. Poke the hot loaf with a skewer and pour the syrup over the loaf. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a rack.
Baking notes: Oddly enough, the one thing I will do differently the next time I make this recipe is to use regular tangerines instead of minneolas! Minneolas are juicy, but don’t have an intense tangerine flavor. So although the bread is delicious, it could use more tangerine oomph. Also, I would take the time to toast the walnuts, to add more of a nutty flavor. I made this bread by hand, in a big stainless steel bowl with a big spoon, beating in the eggs until the batter was fluffy. This took a good two to three minutes. You can certainly use a mixer. Also, you could throw in an extra glug of brandy, and it wouldn’t hurt! The cake has a moist pound cake texture.
I was glad to bake with the tangerines last night. They are so glowing and warm looking, like the sun, which is conspicuously absent these days. We had more snow last night and the temperature will plunge tonight. Hope that, wherever you are in this world, that you are warm, safe, and happy. Namaste. Fran