This flat-out gorgeous whole-grain bread is studded with cherries like garnets. Spill a pound of halved scarlet Bings into a bowl with basic quick bread ingredients -- whole wheat flour and brown sugar give the crumb a nutty, earthy flavor -- then add toasted pine nuts, some fragrant fennel seeds. A simple mix-bake-cool (resist the urge to cut this bread hot) and you’ve got a tasty breakfast -- perfect with a hot cup of joe and maybe a nub of honey butter (2 tablespoons honey whipped with one-fourth cup softened butter).
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf dish.
Grind the fennel seed using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, then combine in a large bowl with the flour, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle the brown sugar over and mix to thoroughly combine, pressing out any lumps.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg then add the milk, honey and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Stir until almost combined before adding the pine nuts and cherries, then stir just until evenly mixed.
Spoon the dough into the loaf dish and spread evenly. Bake until the center tests done with a wooden pick, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check the bread 10 minutes before the timer goes off; if the bread is browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil. Let cool slightly before running a knife around the sides of the loaf dish to loosen, then invert onto a cooling rack and let cool to warm before slicing.
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