O my! No disappointment there when my July installment finally appeared. I knew I’d find some treasures when I saw the magazine quote author Alice Walker (In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens), who wrote the following: “Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.” The theology in that quote may not be accurate, but the fresh-peach part of life truly helps fulfill on the psalmist’s belief that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13). Peaches truly represent one of the crown-jewel aspects of life on earth.
What to try first among all of SL’s novel suggestions? I already possessed a half-bag of fresh carrots that I needed to use in a recipe and of course always have shelled pecans on hand, so Spiced Pecan Carrot Bread seemed as though it was a great way to get started on responding to SL’s call to honor the peach. The idea of blending peaches and carrots in a breakfast bread tantalized me; the recipe was touted as having won first place in South Carolina’s 2009 Annual Peach-Off Contest. Instead of making the recipe into one large 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf, I used a large pan that contained spaces for 8 mini loaves. I thought I’d enjoy having lots of little loaves to share with friends and family; I also knew we didn’t need a big ole chunk of tasty breakfast bread sitting around all week. With mini loaves I knew I could get rid of the temptation quickly.
These turned out wonderfully moist. I loved biting into the warm fresh peaches as the loaves were first out from the oven and cooled minimally; the combination with carrots was a big success. Of course Hubby couldn’t resist topping his bites of bread with some homemade peach preserves (from last summer’s canning). Best of all I have 11 little loaves left for some delicious little gifts (although some of them may remain as gifts to ourselves!)
Spiced Peach Carrot Bread
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh, ripe peaches
3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup skim milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow pan bake pecans in a single layer for 8 to 10 minutes or until nuts are toasted and fragrant. Halfway through stir nuts. Cool 15 minutes. In a large bowl stir together flour and next 6 ingredients; add peaches, next 4 ingredients, and toasted pecans. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased and floured 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan (or in a pan containing spaces for 8 mini loaves). If baking large loaf bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center emerges clean. If baking mini-loaves bake 30 minutes or until pick emerges clean. Cool in pan(s) on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove bread from pan(s) to wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).