As an adult, I have really learned to love prunes.Â Now, I know they have a bit of a stigma, but I have found that I prefer their flavor to that of raisins.Â They’re quite good for you, andÂ we love the complexity they add to pork dishes, chopped into various stews, and in cakes and bread.
This is straight out of Fannie Farmer (I know,Â I’m probably mentioning her too much lately, but I didÂ say that I cook from her book or get inspiration from it frequently.)Â The only thing I adjusted was the baking time – it took a full 20 min longer than the recipe said for a skewer to come out clean.
I took this to homeschool group and came home with an empty plate.Â
Cornmeal Prune Loaf (yes, I fully acknowledge, it needs a better name, but that’s what’s in the book)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (I used 1 stick plus 1/4 cup shortening, because butter is really expensive right now!)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup yellow or blue cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dark rum (I subbed in orange juice, because my kids are eating this, and they don’t like the flavor alcohol adds to bread…except my fruitcake, which is drenched in brandy, and still Firecracker wolfs it down…)
1 heaping cup finely chopped, pitted prunes
Preheat the oven 325 F.Â Thoroughly grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.Â With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until creamy.Â Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition (If you add all the eggs at once, you will end upÂ with an undesirable consistency.Â It really does make a difference.).
Combine the flour, cormeal, salt, baking powder, and stir them together.Â Slowly add to the mixer, then add the rum (or OJ).Â Gently fold in the prunes.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until skewer comes out cleanÂ (It took me 1 hr 35 minutes, and it was not over cooked, but I’d start with the minimum time and keep checking.)
Remove from pan and let rest 5 minutes before removing from pan.Â Cool completely before cutting, or the loaf will crumble.
Enjoy with strong black tea on aÂ cold afternoon.