This applesauce bread-that’s-a-bit-cakey is based on my original vegan banana bread recipe from my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack. Photographs of that banana bread are sent to me on a near-daily basis, with an especial flurry at weekends, and I am delighted to receive them. It remains one of my favourite recipes, but every now and again a reader gets in touch to say that they just really don’t like bananas. At all. It seemed a shame not to share the simplicity and deliciousness of one of my favourite recipes with bananaphobes, so, I set about creating one just as simple, with Something Else.
The Something Else turned out to be applesauce, made from stewing apples – this can be cheated in the microwave for an even simpler version, or use a jar of shop-bought apple sauce.
As this is a yeast-free and quite dense bread, it will work well with gluten free flour, simply add a splash of water, and then another, towards the end, and mix in well to form the dough. Gluten free flour tends to need more liquid than its regular counterparts.
As ever, my ingredients are costed at Sainsburys because that is the closest supermarket to where I live, but others have similar ingredients at similar prices. If you find an amazing bargain ingredient, please comment and let us all know!
Serves 8 in chunky squares or slices, 9p each.
2 small apples, any kind will do, 40p (80p/4, Basics)
1 tbsp bottled lemon juice, 3p (50p/250ml)
100ml vegetable or sunflower oil, 10p (£3/3l)
225g plain flour, 8p (Basics, 55p/1.5kg)
1 1/2 level tsp bicarb, 3p (85p/180g)
1 tsp ground cinnamon, depending on taste, 7p (Fairtrade, £1/38g)
optional: a generous handful of sultanas or mixed dried peel
First dice your apples, I leave the skin on mine with a quick wash under the tap, as there is fibre in the skin and a lot of the vitamins reportedly sit just beneath. You won’t notice it anyway, as it will be mushed down and baked into a loaf! Toss them into a pan with 1 tbsp lemon juice to stop them from browning. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes or until softened.
Preheat your oven to 180C and lightly grease a loaf tin. (If you don’t have a loaf tin, a cake tin will do, or even a baking tray).
Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. I have deliberately not put sugar in this recipe as I find the small cheap apples sweet enough, but if you have a cooking apple or a more tart variety, you might want to add 2 tbsp sugar to the mix. Stir it all together to evenly distribute.
Remove the apples from the heat and drain any excess water. Leave it to one side in case you need it later – not all dough is created equal and this water will be apple-flavoured! Mash the apples with a fork, adding the oil to create a loose applesauce mixture.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the applesauce. Mix well to form a thick batter, adding a splash of the reserved apple-water if necessary. It should be reasonably stiff to stir but not dry and cracking.
Dollop the dough into your vessel of choice – loaf tin, cake tin or on a baking tray. If using a baking tray, flour your hands well and roughly shape your batter to hold it together somewhat. Err on the side of tall and round as it may spread as well as rise.
Pop it into the oven for 40 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Jack Monroe. I am on Instagram and Twitter at @MxJackMonroe and my recipe books are available to buy here.
My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.
This blog is free to those who need it, and always will be, but it does of course incur costs to run and keep it running. If you use it and benefit, enjoy it, and would like to keep it going, please consider popping something in the tip jar, and thankyou.