It never ceases to amaze me how cheap fruit can be when bought at the peak of its season. And nectarines are no exception. It seems almost criminal to the hard working farmers that us city dwellers can buy an entire kilo of nectarines for as little as $3.
Nectarines have become a favourite summer fruit and when they are this good and plentiful I buy nothing short of a kilo at a time. With these sweet beauties I decided to make a simple nectarine and coconut bread. Well, it’s more like a loaf really. I call it a bread as after enjoying it fresh on the day, the following day I toast it much the same as you would banana bread. It’s delicious with a lathering of butter and I find it hard to resist when served with a cup of hot tea.
This is getting a little personal. Do you ever store your fruit in the fridge? Please tell me you don’t. Please tell me you buy small amounts of in-season fruit, placing the pieces in a bowl on the bench or kitchen table so that you may enjoy the sweeter flavours of the natural sugars when the fruit is eaten at room temperature. Please, can you tell me that? Refrigerators are not meant for fruit. Especially stone fruit.
This loaf, or sweet bread, has a method similar to making muffins. All the dry ingredients are placed in a bowl, the diced fruit is added, followed by the whisked eggs, milk and melted butter. The stirring is minimal, just as with muffins. This is important to keep the softness to the loaf, over stirring will give a tougher finish. I’ve used white nectarines but yellow ones are just as good. Smell the fruit before you buy it and pick the variety with the sweetest smell. When summer is over, and autumn begins, you can make this same loaf with pears instead of nectarines, for this 2 medium sized pears would be sufficient.
Often what I do with this loaf is slice a few portions and freeze then individually so the following week when I fancy something for morning tea it’s on hand, and goes straight in the toaster and gets served with organic butter and raspberry jam.
Nectarine and coconut bread
260g (2cups) wholemeal self raising flour
35g (1/3 cup) hazelnut or almond meal
50g (3/4 cup) shredded coconut
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp bi carb soda (sifted if lumps are present)
3 white or yellow nectarines diced into 1cm pieces
100g butter, melted
2 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
Pre heat oven to 175C, or 165C fan forced. Lightly grease a loaf tin with butter then line the tin with baking paper.
Place the flour, hazelnut meal, coconut, sugar, and sifted bi carb soda in a large bowl, stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the diced nectarines.
In a medium sized jug, melt the butter, add the eggs, vanilla and milk, and whisk till well combined.
Pour the egg mixture onto the flour and stir briefly till the batter just comes together (remember not to over stir). Pour the batter into the lined tin, and spread lightly till surface is even. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, or till an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool slightly in tin then remove from tin and cool completely on a cake rack.
Once cooled, slice the nectarine bread and serve with butter and your favourite jam.