This afternoon, as cool winds blew through our farm, I baked a comforting gluten-free Maple Pecan Buckwheat Tea Loaf. Light yet substantial and oh-so-fragrant, it is a delicious thing to make and serve for afternoon tea. My husband and I settled in with thick, warm slices slathered with butter and felt the stress of the day melt away.
Buckwheat is my favorite gluten-free flour to use in baking. With a lovely rich color, smooth, malt flavor, and hearty texture, it pairs beautifully with warming flavors like maple, vanilla, cinnamon, and anything nutty. It is especially good in crepes, pancakes, muffins, and quick breads like this tea loaf.
You can start with buckwheat flour or, if you have your own mill, grind buckwheat yourself to get the freshest flavor profile. Stir in baking powder, finely ground sea salt, baking soda, and coarsely chopped pecans. Chopped walnuts would also go great with this loaf, or stir in some hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. If you are allergic to nuts or they just aren't your thing, try sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sunflower seeds to give the loaf a nice crunch in every bite. You could also add shredded desiccated coconut.
This would also be a good time to stir in some dried fruit if you fancy a bit more sweet in your tea loaf. I really like dried cherries with pecans and sweetened dried cranberries with macadamia nuts. Chopped candied ginger is delicious with ground almonds, and orange or clementine zest is divine with chopped walnuts. If you want to be especially decadent, try dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, with dried cherries. It is splendid.
Set aside the dry ingredients, then whisk together milk, dark brown sugar, maple extract, and egg. I like to add melted butter next since it gives such great flavor, but the batter works equally well with a nut oil such as walnut, hazelnut, or almond, or traditional cooking oil. Dark brown sugar is a delicious sweetener, but if you prefer something healthier, use a good quality honey or luscious real maple syrup.
Once the wet ingredients are mixed together well, add them to the dry ingredients, stirring gently just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour the batter into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, and decorate the top with a few of the nuts or seeds that you chose for the batter. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven, then lift loaf gently out of pan by edges of baking paper and set on wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature in thick slices with plenty of softened, unsalted butter or luscious whipped honey butter. It goes beautifully with a hot cup of tea.
You can also use this maple pecan buckwheat batter for muffins instead of a tea loaf. Just pour into greased or lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Maple Pecan Buckwheat Tea Loaf
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pecans, chopped coarsely
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple extract
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.
In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda, and pecans. Set aside.
In another bowl whisk together milk, melted butter, dark brown sugar, maple extract, and egg.
Add wet ingredients to dry, stir just until blended.
Pour into loaf pan, decorate with pecan halves if desired, and bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.