You can now definitely tell it’s almost winter. We set the clock back an hour on the weekend, and although this does mean I got an extra hours sleep (yesss) it also means it’s freakin dark by 5 o’clock. My friend was quite amused by my depressed acknowledgement of this fact, as we set off to walk to the bus stop today. The upside: Dark times, call for dark foods.
This date and walnut loaf is easily mixed by hand and baked until a deep amber, crispy, crunchy crust has formed and a hint of golden batter is seen peeking through the cracked top.
It doesn’t rise much, its a dense loaf packed with red wine coloured dates and crunchy walnuts scented with plenty of vanilla extract and brown sugar.
It’s delicious, especially if you try it the rebel’s way; the sweetness balanced with a light swipe of snow white cream cheese, like yin and yang, along side a steaming hot cup of tea. Make sure you grab a few more slices, it’s dark out, so no one will notice..
Date and Walnut Loaf
makes 1 medium loaf
1 cup (9 oz) pitted, chopped dates
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (6.9 oz) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup to 1 cup (3 – 6 oz) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) brown sugar
3 tbsp shortening
2 tsps vanilla extract
Pour the boiling water over the dates in a small bowl, set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and grease a medium loaf pan.
In a bowl combine salt, flour, baking powder and chopped walnuts, set aside.
Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla.
Stir in a third of the flour mixture, then half of the date mixture, then a third of the flour mixture, the rest of the date mixture and then the rest of the flour mixture, until completely mixed. Pour into the prepared pan (the mixture should be fairly close to the top as it doesn’t rise much). Place in the oven for 55-70 minutes or until very dark brown and when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and dry. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf tin.