Tasty, not too sweet, not a cake and definitely not a loaf. My wife will love this for Mother’s Day!  It is a nice recipe for a scone style treat baked in a loaf tin. Yes, I said scone in a loaf tin. It comes from the good folks at Food 52 and this is an adaptation of their recipe. It’s an interesting recipe, and that’s sometimes more appealing to me than the tried and true. Again, I do a lot of these appealing recipes, but only submit to you the ones that I like (or work out). Point in question – do you remember the “scuffin” – neither do I, ahem!   

I used halvah with pistachios as the flavoring agent. Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, it is my new favorite ingredient. I’ve baked with it before, but also love to eat it plain. This time I used the halvah with pistachios in it. If you haven’t tried it please do. It’s hard to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. Most grocery stores sell it in small quantities near the deli or natural foods section, but any specialty Middle Eastern store will carry different varieties – like everything else, they vary in quality and price. There is a lovely chocolate and vanilla flavored one as well.

This isn’t a sweet or rich cake by any means, so you don’t need to feel guilty or stuffed by having a slice. It’s great with tea or coffee or a glass of wine. Don’t forget the jam. Think a scone texture so you need something with it – maybe lightly whipped cream would also be good. I baked it in a loaf tin, but you could also do it in a 9” square pan. Don’t expect a lot of height but do expect great taste. To all the mother’s out there – Happy Mother’s Day!  As always – enjoy!

8 oz halvah, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. coarse sugar for the top
¾ cup Churn 84 European style butter, cold, cut into ½” cubes
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk or heavy cream (I used 35% cream, must try this with the buttermilk next time)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400° F
Spray and line a 9 x 5” loaf pan with parchment paper – leave an overhang on each of the short sides
Combine the halvah and chocolate – stir gently, the halvah breaks apart easily
In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar – pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes and pulse until the butter is in the size of peas
You can also do this without a processor – just whisk the dry ingredients together to combine, then cut in the butter with your hands to pea size
Add this to the bowl with the halvah
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk or cream, and the extracts and add to the dry ingredients
Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until just combined
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly
Sprinkle the top with the remaining coarse sugar and bake until deep golden brown on top and firm when you poke it with your finger – mine took about 55 minutes – there should be no soft center, it should feel baked when you touch the surface of the center
Begin checking for doneness at 45 minutes
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes
Using the parchment flaps, remove gently to the rack to cool completely
Slice with a serrated knife and serve with jam or lightly whipped cream, or on its own