19 June 2009

Pork and Beans Bread


Summer Celebrations

What’s on your menu for Father’s Day? When I think of Father’s Day outdoor entertaining comes to mind. Father’s Day is one of the season's first opportunities to plan a cookout with all the trimmings. That calls for grilled meats and vegetables, Corn on the Cob and, more often than not, some Pork and Beans. It is a tradition and a family favorite.

My husband and boys are big fans of Pork and Beans. My husband grew up eating them with a little brown sugar or maple syrup mixed in. My boys can each eat a can of Pork and Beans on their own at most any meal. Though they are not necessarily fans of beans in general there is something about the taste and texture of Pork and Beans, warmed straight from the can, that really appeals to their appetites.

Personally, I don’t care for them in that simple state, but add bacon, onion, brown sugar and some spices, bake them for a while, and I’ll admit they are a welcome and even comforting addition to the menu. After all I am as swayed by tradition as anyone.


Beans in Unexpected Places

That’s what I like about this Pork and Beans Bread recipe that my Aunt Hen discovered. It takes a plain can of traditional Pork and Beans and dresses it up in a new and unexpected way.

My aunt really enjoyed the unexpected nature of this recipe. While the British think of beans on toast as a comfort food and serve baked beans as a part of a big English breakfast, and while Asian cuisine often uses a sweet bean paste as a staple in tea cakes and other sweet treats, Americans tend to find such combinations odd. Though we dress up our Pork and Beans with a little brown sugar or maple syrup we still seem to expect beans to be served as an exclusively savory dish.

I think it was for that very reason that my aunt enjoyed this recipe so much. The incongruity of it appealed to her folksy sense of humor and her delight in the interesting and creative things you could do with food. She liked the element of surprise and of including such a universal favorite in a dish that was sure to please. I think she also liked the ease of preparation. Nothing complicated here. It’s just a simple quick bread recipe with a twist.

Originally my aunt found this recipe in a book called “Gifts That Taste Good.” She adapted it according to her own preferences and wrote it out for me:


Personal Preferences

This week I followed the recipe as written. It was good. My family liked it but, while I found it interesting, the loaf that resulted was too sweet for my taste. I wanted to try it again with a few changes. Thinking of the recipe for other quick breads I like, I decided that I could safely increase the amount of flour and decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe. Then I thought of ways to tweak the flavor a little.

I thought about what goes into my family's favorite recipe for baked beans and worked from there. With more flour I saw no reason to drain the beans so I just opened the can and added the contents. Then I used brown sugar in place of some of the white sugar and cut it by a fourth. I also increased the amount of cinnamon I used. As you may know if you visit regularly, I have an aversion to raisins so I left those out. Then to make it even more like my favorite recipe for baked beans I added bits of crisply fried bacon to some of the muffins and drizzled the top with a little maple syrup before baking.

This time the bread turned out lighter than the first loaf. The texture was nice and the taste was unique and delicious. My tasters all agreed that the texture was an improvement on the first batch. Many enjoyed the addition of the bacon as well. It gave the otherwise sweet bread a savory salty edge and the maple syrup gave the sweet flavor a little punch.

I did enjoy it but don’t know that I would add the bacon and maple syrup again, except as a novelty. They definitely aren’t necessary. The Pork and Beans Bread is a great recipe without them. The beans alone make the bread interesting. If you prefer even less texture, mash the beans before mixing. For my part I enjoyed the batch where I added some chocolate chips. To each their own. Whichever version you try, if you like Pork and Beans I think you'll like this bread.

Happy Father's Day!



Pork and Beans Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 15 oz. can pork and beans

Optional additions:
  • a total of 1 cup of raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or a combination
  • 1/3 cup crisply fried and crumbled bacon pieces and/or a drizzle of maple syrup

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together to mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine eggs, oil, sugar and pork and beans until thoroughly blended. Add dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Gently stir in one of the optional additions, if desired.

Pour batter into two prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees until it tests done, using the following guidelines:
  • Muffin tins filled 2/3 full - 25 minutes
  • 8 inch cast iron skillet – 50 minutes
  • 9 inch loaf pans – 60 minutes
Remove pans from oven and allow bread to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

8 comments:

Cathy said...

A very interesting use of a classic picnic favorite. I do like pork and beans and this will be a fun addition to summer buffets.

Aren't family recipes special? I treasure them.

Ivy said...

Wow! This idea is so cool and the second one sounds delicious. I love salty/sweet. But, I don't like pork and beans enough to try it.LOL

Grace said...

i've made a bean bread using canned pork and beans and my sourdough starter, and it was WONDERFUL. i think this is a lovely idea for father's day--good thinking!

the ungourmet said...

Oh my gosh! I have never seen this in my life. I love it! I really want to try it!

Kim said...

Very interesting, and seeing that I am a Yankee at heart. Pork and beans is a food that I am always up for. Am always intrigued by your images of recipes, just heart-warming and homey.

the southern hostess said...

How interesting! I'm so intrigued, I'll have to try it.

noble pig said...

That sounds absolutely intriguing, I love pork and beans.

Robin Sue said...

A very interesting recipe, I would leave the raisins out too! I like the sound of bacon in this and you are right, this bread can go in so many taste directions. Very unique!