Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf Tested Recipe
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I found the recipe for this Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf at the perfect time. I had just finished
the last of my Christmas Fruit Cake and was looking for a similar type of cake
to have with my coffee. This loaf fit the bill; a
cake with lots of dried fruits (dates, figs, cherries, and apricots) and
nuts (walnuts and hazelnuts) with just enough batter to hold it all
together. What I also love about this cake is that it does not call for butter or
even oil, instead, the ingredients are bound together with a little flour
and by eggs that have been beaten with vanilla extract.
Now, don't feel you need to follow this recipe exactly, as you
can vary the dried fruit and nuts, just keep
the amounts the same; that is, 3 cups of dried fruits and 3 cups of nuts.
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying dried
fruits. First, try to buy in bulk from a grocery store or natural food
store that has a high turnover. Not only will the fruit be fresher, but you
can see, smell, and feel, the fruit to make sure it is
fresh and of high quality. Pre-packaged fruit can also be excellent but it
is harder to tell the quality of the fruit through the plastic bag. Make
sure to check the expiration date on the bag. Always
look for dried fruit that is plump, moist, and has good color. Never buy
fruit that is dried out or moldy. There is a debate about whether to
buy 'sulphured' or 'unsulphured' dried fruits. Some like to buy 'sulphured'
which means that it has been treated with a sulphur dioxide solution. This
preserves the fruit's bright color and makes the fruit very soft and moist. The downside is
that some people can taste the preservative while others are allergic. Of
course, 'unsulphured' means it has not been treated before it is dried and
some say the flavor of untreated dried fruits is far superior. The downside is
that the fruit's color may be slightly faded looking, especially
dried fruits (like apples, pears, and bananas) that oxidize
This recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich's excellent book Pure Desserts. It follows the same formula as the
Fruit and Nut Squares recipe
on the site, which was adapted from another excellent book by Alice Medrich's book Cookies and Brownies.
Fruit and Nut Loaf: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150
degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray
with a vegetable oil spray, a 9 x 5
inch (23 x 12 cm) (8 cup) loaf pan, and line the bottom of the pan with
In a large bowl,
whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown
sugar, walnuts, and dried fruits. Use your fingers to make sure that all the
fruits and nuts have been coated with the flour mixture.
In a separate
bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer) the eggs and vanilla until light
colored and thick (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture to the
fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are coated with
the batter. Spread into the prepared pan, pressing to even it out.
Bake for about 60
to 75 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown and has pulled away from the
sides of the pan. (If you find the loaf over browning, cover with aluminum
foil.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When
cool, lift the loaf from the pan. To store, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum
foil. This loaf is best after being stored for a couple of days. Will keep for
about 2 weeks at room temperature or for a couple of months in the refrigerator.
Cut into small slices with a sharp knife.
Makes one - 9 x 5
inch (20 x 13 cm) loaf.
Dried Fruit and Nut
3/4 cup (95 grams) all purpose
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly
packed light brown sugar
3 cups (300 grams)
coarsely chopped walnuts (can also use pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds)
1/2 cup (65 grams) dried
cherries and/or cranberries
2 cups dates and figs,
pits removed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup (85 grams) dried
apricots, cut into quarters
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla