I was gifted with a 2 pound tub of dried dates this week and while searching for a good recipe ran across my own post on LJ from February 2015. I didn’t start posting seriously to this blog until the following month and I started by reposting a few older recipes/posts that I was particularly proud of. This simple quick bread wasn’t considered worthy of inclusion, at that time, but I’ve grown to appreciate its merits, so here you go.
Date and Pecan Quick Bread – makes one – 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf, or two – 8 x 4 x 2 1/2 inch (20 x 10 x 6.5 cm) loaves
8 oz (225 grams) dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped dates)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans or walnuts
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a bowl mix the chopped dates with the baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Pour 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water over the dates, stir, and leave to cool to room temperature (this takes about 30 minutes).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter a loaf pan or spray it with a nonstick vegetable spray.
Then line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. (NOTE: I used disposable aluminum pans and just sprayed with PAM, no parchment paper needed.)
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 deg F for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the diced butter and using a pastry blender, cut in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the vanilla extract.
Then add the beaten egg mixture and the cooled dates (along with the water) to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
Place the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon.
Bake about 55 to 65 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. This bread will keep for several days at room temperature. It can also be frozen.
NOTE: I divided the mixture evenly among 2 aluminum pans and baked for a total of 40 minutes, rotating the pans after 20 minutes.