The midnight premiere of The Hunger Games is TONIGHT! In celebration, I baked something. It's what I do.
I absolutely love The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, by Emily Ansara Baines. There are recipes for pretty much everything food-related ever mentioned in the entire series. Some are directly from the books, like the Lamb Stew with Dried Plumbs that Katniss loves, the Goat Cheese and Apple Tart that Peeta mentions, and this Hearty Raisin Nut Bread that Peeta gives Katniss when her family is starving. Then there are a lot of recipes that are inferred from the books - like a whole chapter on wild game... squirrel, rabbit, muskrat (tree rat), venison, and wild turkey recipes. There is also more normal fare, like Greasy Sae's Spicy Vegetarian Chili, and Harvest Heirloom Apple Cake, that aren't specifically mentioned in the books, but may stem from something said in passing, or the author argues could be available to the characters. There are also "tips from your Sponsor" with every recipe - little hints and modifications. If you're a fan of the series, and like to cook, I highly recommend this cookbook.
I thought this Hearty Raisin Nut Bread was appropriate to try out. I love Peeta - The Boy with the Bread; it's from the first book/upcoming movie; and it's pretty significant to the Katniss/Peeta relationship. Also, if I had to pick the character that I most identify with, it would totally be Peeta.
Now, the original recipe that I'll post is for 2 loaves... which is appropriate, but I cut it in half since we would never eat two loaves before it went bad.
1 (.25 ounce) package OR 5 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 C. warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 C. warm milk (110 degrees F)
1/2 C. butter - melted
1/3 C. honey
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. white sugar
3 C. whole wheat flour
3 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
2 C. raisins
1 C. chopped walnuts
1 egg white
2 Tbsp. cold water
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, butter, honey, salt, cinnamon, sugar, eggs, and whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
- Place raisins in a bowl of tepid water. Let soak until needed.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Grease two 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pans. Punch down the dough. Turn out onto the lightly floured surface; sprinkle with raisins and walnuts, and knead them in. Divide dough in half.
- Roll dough into loaves. Place loaves into the greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat egg white and cold water; brush on top of the loaves. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If top browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes. Remove pans to wire racks to cool.
It's hearty and delicious. The whole wheat flour gives it substance, the raisins are sweet, the nuts are crunchy. It's yeasty and smells delicious baking. You should probably make some of this right now, and give it to your starving future wife. You should also read the books, go see the movie, and get this cookbook. Ok, everyone has their to-do lists. Go.