The sun has been particularly ruthless lately here in Bangalore. While we get through our days with tall pitchers of iced tea and melt into a sweet puddle of delight at the very mention of ice cream, there’s also the cooking and baking routine that curiously alleviates some of the strain caused by soaring temperatures. Is that even a thing, you ask?
Well, we make sure we are guzzling down lots of water, and listening to the new-age music that blares from the kids’ rooms (without wincing). We throw open the windows and doors to let the breeze in as we work in the kitchen, and we love to attune our recipes to the notes of seasonal produce. Tons of fresh cucumbers and gourds glide into our salads and side dishes, with the lots of greens turning flaccid and droopy, rendering them unfit for crisp meals. Sweet and juicy fruits like melons and mangoes, papaya and pineapple, waltz through our dessert bowls and bake pans with a poise reserved for those blessed with immaculate footwork.
With April taking the cake as the busiest month of the year on our calendars, as we ring in our girls’ birthdays, there’s never a dearth for recipes that employ the aforesaid. Here’s one such – a bread brimming with the essence of the tropics, hearty from the inside out, built as it is with a host of healthy ingredients. Whether you’re hosting a Luau party, swinging the hula hoop, or just unwinding after a long day..this bread that smacks of sunny island flavors, is great to enjoy with your afternoon tea, under the whirring of a trusty ceiling fan (if air-conditioning isn’t your thing).
Pineapple, Dates & Coconut Bread
(Makes one 9″x5″ loaf)
- 2 cups organic whole wheat flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/3 cup jaggery powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped or coarsely ground dates
- 1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut (for topping)
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 9 x 5 inches loaf pan and line base with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Mix the jaggery into the warm, melted butter and whisk until it turns slightly creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
- Mix in the dates, pineapple & 1/2 cup coconut, and fold everything together gently.
- Add the flour in two measures, mixing gently with each addition.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan, top with pumpkin seeds and scatter the reserved 1 tablespoon coconut all over the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for a while, then transfer to a cooling rack. Slice when completely cool.
*We like to use Navadarshanam organic whole wheat flour, especially in our breads, as it lends a nice grainy texture. Besides, we think it’s cool to support local farms that practice organic farming.