Is it a zucchini or a courgette? Its both, in America, its zucchini, in the rest of the world, its a courgette. No matter what you call it, you’ve probably eatten it as a vegetable in a savoury way. I enjoy challenging the pallet and the mind and baking sweet things with zucchini, from breads to brownies. I thought I’d pass the idea by my Dutch colleagues, of ‘what do you think of zucchini bread?’, I then explained it was sweet with a lot of cinnamon. They thought it was a weird idea but that they were willing to sacrifice themselves as my ‘proefkonijns’ (guinea pigs). Luckily everyone has pleasantly surprised, despite pulling faces that suggested they really didn’t want to try it, (un)fortunately I refuse to leave my colleagues desks until they have taken a piece. I’m never really bothered by if they like what I make or not but I insist that they try it.
I searched various different recipes and came across different ideas that I was able to combine into one. This is a combination of best zucchini bread with a crumb topping.
Makes: 2 loaves Prep time: 20 mins Bake time: 45-60 mins Total time: 65+ mins
For the bread:
- Butter and flour for preparing baking pans
- 3 cups (384g) plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3½ cups (500g) grated zucchini, with the excess liquid removed
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup (127g) apple sauce (I used pear butter or you could also use apple butter)
- ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
- 2¼ cups (450g) granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125g) chopped pecans
For the crumb topping:
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (20g) old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted
Now to make this deliciously sweet bread
1. Grate your zucchini (I used my food processor or rather I realised that my food processor had an attachment, got really excited and then used it) and then using a muslin/cheese cloth or similar cloth and remove/squeeze the excess liquid from the zucchini. Set aside.
2. Make the crumb topping: With a fork, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter. Don’t over-mix; you want crumbles that are flour-y! Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter and flour two loaf pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Make the cake: In a large bowl beat the eggs. One the eggs are completely beat, add in the applesauce/pear butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract.
4. Sift in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir gently to combine. Gently stir in shredded zucchini and nuts into the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon.
5. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan. Top each loaf with the crumble topping. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out cleanly. If you find that the crumble is burning or looks like its going to burn, cover the loaf pan with aluminium foil.
6. Allow to slightly cool in the pan and remove for cooling on a wire rack. It should be consumed within 3 days.
I forgot how much I enjoyed making this recipe years ago and then was reminded that it has autumn flavours in it. Lets be honest, summer is coming to an end and winter is most certainly the way, this is kind of a sweet reminder of whats to come. Sadly my crumble came out drier than I would have liked (I went a bit off piste from the recipe and regretted it before I set the bowl side) but it was still nice and gave the bread a sweet bite.
I absolutely loved that my colleagues kept telling me that every though they could see the green from the zucchini, they couldn’t taste it. Much like pumpkin, zucchini tastes of whatever you season/flavour it with. A few colleagues even took pieces home for their partners to try it. I think it’s funny/great how many husbands I’m now giving Monday treats to!
Remember to share with your friends, family and colleagues 🙂