Beorn’s Nut Bread and Fruited Honey

Posted March 6, 2014 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 5 Comments

Personally, I’ve always felt like dwarves from fantasy books don’t get enough press. They’re fearless, rowdy, and unabashedly hairy. What’s not to love? But when it comes to culinary appreciation, you can’t beat a hobbit. I mean, we’re talking about a race of people who schedule their entire day around six meals. Talk about folks after my own heart! Thus, it is with great excitement that I introduce The Hobbit as our new Book of the Month!

I just gotta say, I had so much fun planning this. The Hobbit is chock-full of wonderful characters and grand meals. Since specifics for most of the meals aren’t disclosed, there’s so much room for imagination. And believe me, I made full use of it! 🙂

The appetizer for this menu is a tribute to Beorn the shapeshifter, a favorite character of mine. Though not overly fond of people, he’s a fierce protector of the creatures in his care. What can I say? I’m a sucker for characters with gruff demeanors and good hearts (which is probably why I like dwarves so much).

He may be a tough nut to crack, but Beorn can make a mean meal! Below is my own interpretation of the nut bread and honey he serves Thorin’s company when they stay at his home on the edge of Mirkwood Forest. The original bread recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens, though I tweaked it a bit, and the technique for making fruited honey comes from this awesome book.

NOTE: Both the bread and the honey need to “stand” for a day before you use them. This allows the moisture in the bread to distribute more evenly and the peach flavor to really soak into the honey. I would recommend making these the day before you need them.

Beorn’s Nut Bread and Fruited Honey

“He lives in an oak-wood and has a great wooden house; and as a man he keeps cattle and horses which are nearly as marvelous as himself. They work for him and talk to him. He does not eat them; neither does he hunt or eat wild animals. He keeps hives and hives of great fierce bees; and lives most on cream and honey.”
— The Hobbit

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 brown bananas, peeled and mashed (I always like to keep a few in my freezer for emergencies, because you never know when the fate of the world might depend on a brown banana)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • fruited honey (two fresh peaches, approximately 12 oz of honey)
  • streusel-nut topping (3 tbsp packed brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tsp butter, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts)
  • Makes 1 loaf

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To make the fruited honey, peel two peaches and slice them into wedges. Layer the pieces in a mason jar ¾ of the way to the top. Then pour in enough honey to completely cover the peaches. Screw on the top, and turn the jar upside down a few times. After that,  pop it in the refrigerator and turn it upside down once every few hours for the rest of the day (and the next morning, if you make it later in the day).

    Be sure to use a mason jar, as other kinds tend to leak. If you have tiny mason jars, you can make them as individual servings. Cool, huh?
  2. To make the bread, preheat your oven to 350°. Line a 9x5x3 inch bread pan with foil and lightly grease it.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Make a large cavity in the center.
  4. In another medium bowl, stir together the egg, sugars, and butter. Add the mashed bananas and stir ‘er up!
  5. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the cavity in the flour bowl. Stir this too, until just combined. Don’t worry about lumpiness–lumpiness is good. 🙂
  6. Fold in the walnuts, and pour the batter in the pan.

    Yummy, nutty goodness!
  7. Now you’ll want to make the streusel-nut topping. Stir together the brown sugar and flour in a cereal bowl, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender.
  8. Using your fingers to break up the butter is strictly forbidden, since it will make the butter soft and melty. The butter must stay firm! Alison has spoken! *insert gong sound or other powerful, theatrical effect*
  9. After that, just stir in the walnuts and spread the topping over the dough in the pan.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes. If it begins to over-brown before it’s done baking, lay a sheet of tinfoil over it for the last 15 minutes in the oven.
  11. When a toothpick in the center comes out clean, remove the the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. After that, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

    Resist the urge to scarf down the entire loaf right then and there. I know it smells like childhood and happiness, but you must be strong!
  12. Wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap and allow it to sit on the counter for a day (trust me, it makes a huge difference!).
  13. After a day of staring longingly at the bread on your counter, slice it up and serve with fruited honey straight from the fridge. A delicious accompaniment to the chapter on Beorn in The Hobbit! 🙂

    If you’re a strong soul who can resist loaves of yummy bread without difficulty, this bread is great for freezing, and the fruited honey lasts for a good 3 weeks in the fridge. I, however, have no such fortitude and ate half the loaf in one day. I regret nothing. 🙂

 

 

 

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Here’s the Yummly Printable!

Beorn’s Nut Bread and Fruited Honey

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 brown bananas peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 12 oz fruited honey (two fresh peaches, approximately 12 oz of honey)
  • streusel-nut topping (3 tbsp packed brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tsp butter, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts)

Instructions

  1. To make the fruited honey, peel two peaches and slice them into wedges. Layer the pieces in a mason jar ¾ of the way to the top. Then pour in enough honey to completely cover the peaches. Screw on the top, and turn the jar upside down a few times. After that, pop it in the refrigerator and turn it upside down once every few hours for the rest of the day (and the next morning, if you make it later in the day).
  2. To make the bread, preheat your oven to 350°. Line a 9x5x3 inch bread pan with foil and lightly grease it.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Make a large cavity in the center.
  4. In another medium bowl, stir together the egg, sugar, and butter. Add the mashed bananas and stir 'er up!
  5. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the cavity in the flour bowl. Stir this too, until just combined. Don't worry about lumpiness--lumpiness is good.
  6. Fold in the walnuts, and pour the batter in the pan.
  7. Now you'll want to make the streusel-nut topping. Stir together the brown sugar and flour in a cereal bowl, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender.
  8. Using your fingers to break up the butter is strictly forbidden, since it will make the butter soft and melty. The butter must stay firm!
  9. After that, just stir in the walnuts and spread the topping over the dough in the pan.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes. If it begins to over-brown before it's done baking, lay a sheet of tinfoil over it for the last 15 minutes in the oven.
  11. When a toothpick in the center comes out clean, remove the the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. After that, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap and allow it to sit on the counter for a day (trust me, it makes a huge difference!).
  13. After a day of staring longingly at the bread on your counter, slice it up and serve with fruited honey straight from the fridge. A delicious accompaniment to the chapter on Beorn in The Hobbit!
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