My fascination with department store tea room history has turned into a full-fledged obsession, so I was particularly delighted when I recently came across an entire booklet of holiday recipes from the old tea room at Halle Brothers Co. in Cleveland, Ohio! Apparently there was a historical exhibit about Halle's back in 1999, and this booklet was produced then. In addition to comments from former patrons about the old tea room, it also features lots of great recipes, and the first one I tried was this fabulous Cranberry Bread. And here's a fun bit of trivia for you: Which Oscar-winning actress from Cleveland, Ohio (one of the great beauties in modern Hollywood) was named after the store? The answer is at the bottom of today's post!
And now, here's the recipe as I made it.
Halle's Cranberry Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in halves
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate large bowl, combine juice, orange zest, shortening, boiling water and egg. Add dry ingredients to the liquid ones and blend just until combined. Add pecans and cranberries and mix well. Pour into 9 x 5 x 3-inch pan prepared with cooking spray. Allow batter to stand for 20 minutes before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. This is an incredibly moist tea bread that is great served hot or cold. With the crunch of the pecans, the tartness from the fresh cranberries and the citrus flavor from the orange zest—let's just say I have a new favorite Christmas tea bread!
Trivia answer: Halle Berry, of course! It's a good thing her parents didn't name her after another department store in town, because "Higbee Berry" just wouldn't have looked right on her Oscar!