Healthy Oven Fresh Papaya Loaf

  • Serves: Serves 12
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Variations: Healthy Oven Apple or Pear Loaf; Healthy Oven Pumpkin Loaf

s​tock photo

This golden loaf has the tropical taste of the islands. A ripe papaya will "give" when squeezed gently, and have a rich, fruity aroma. To prepare a papaya, peel with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Cut in half and discard the small black seeds. I have included a Pumpkin, Apple, and Pear Loaf variations.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
1 cup whole wheat flour (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon or 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil

1 cup (3/4 dice) ripe papaya chunks (about 1 medium papaya)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom on a 9 x 5 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan with waxed paper and lightly spray the inside of the pan with oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the sugar, applesauce, buttermilk, egg, egg whites, oil and lemon zest until lightened and frothy, about 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the applesauce mixture. Using a spoon, stir until just combined. The batter will be thick, and there should be wisps of flour remaining. Add the papaya chunks and and fold with a large rubber spatula until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Using a gentle touch, spread in the prepared pan.

4. Bake until cracks appear on the top, the loaf springs back when pressed gently in the center, and the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan, 55 to 60 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Unmold onto the rack and peel off the paper. Turn right side up and cool completely.

Each serving: about 166 calories (9 percent from protein; 81 percent from carbohydrates; 10 percent from fat), 4 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat (less than 1 gram saturated fat), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 117 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Healthy Oven Apple or Pear Loaf
Substitute the 1 cup papaya with peeled and cored chopped apples or pears. Plus, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Add in 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired. Bake as directed.

Healthy Oven Pumpkin Loaf
Substitute 1/2 cup applesauce with pumpkin puree! (Make sure you still add in 1/4 cup applesauce, too!) The canned pumpkin puree works the best. Make sure it does not have any added sugar!
Instead of papaya chunks, add in 1/2 cup fresh cranberries or craisins (dried cranberries). Sometimes fresh cranberries can be very tart.
Bake as directed.

From the Healthy Oven Baking Book, by Sarah Phillips, Doubleday, 1999

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