Strawberry Cucumber Loaf

This is a really unusual quick bread recipe from Bake From Scratch magazine that I just had to try. You must follow the recipe exactly as it is stated - no substitutions or shortcuts! The reason they call for ghee (clarified butter) is its lack of water. You know what has lots of water? Cucumbers and strawberries. So - unless you want a soggy mess, do not use normal butter in place of the ghee!

Brining the conversation back to scones (are you surprised?) - ghee would be a poor substitution for butter in scone recipes, again because of the lack of water and milk solids. Butter is about 16-18% water - which turns to steam pockets in the hot oven, thus creating tender, flaky scones. While I have not attempted to substitute ghee for butter in scones, I expect they would be dense and oily. If your ghee is in the fridge, get it out early - it is hard as a rock when refrigerated and impossible to scoop out (plus, it does not need to be refrigerated).

Measure your 2 cups of grated cucumber BEFORE draining it. Place your freshly grated cucumber into a colander or mesh sieve, place a bowl on top, and compress (over the sink) so that the water drains out. You can also "wring out" the grated cucumber with a tea towel. Either way, your cucumber will have greatly reduced in volume after draining, and 2 cups of compressed, drained cucumber is still WAY TOO MUCH moisture. 

Finally, you must reduce and thicken your strawberry jam on the stovetop as directed. This again reduces the water content to avoid sogginess, and also prevents your jam from seeping into the bread. You will be tempted to just use the damn jam right out of the jar (like I did). In fact, I didn't take any of this advice that I am giving you now, and I regret it! Notice the slight buckling of my overly-moist loaf, and the seepage of my runny jam? The moral of this story is: don't be a lazy hypocrite like me, and you will end up with a rather tasty summer breakfast!

Here's the recipe: