Quick breads are a good way to include fruits, nuts, and herbs in your baked goods, and are called “quick” because they use a leavening agent (baking powder or soda) instead of yeast to rise the dough. No lengthy proofing and punching involved! But you remembered that little factoid from Home Ec classes, right? This bread is loaded with dried fruits, and fills the kitchen with a wonderful, homey aroma when baking. I was reminded about this recipe by my friend and fellow blogger Addis (Ethiomama), who remembered having this at a party we hosted six months ago! It’s that good. We’d served a platter of homemade quick breads and cheeses, and this one was the show stopper. The recipe is from a Lunds and Byerly’s issue of “Real Food” (Winter 2013), and I make it just as the author Serena Bass instructs, except for switching pecans for the suggested walnuts. I also found I had to bake my bread 10-15 minutes longer in order for it to be done in the center. That time adjustment is reflected below.
The sweetness of the bread makes a nice contrast to a goat cheese or other strong, pungent cheese, if you want to pair it with something. It’s great at a brunch, or for bringing as a hostess gift. It will keep for up to two weeks in the frig (if it lasts that long), but it doesn’t freeze well. I’ve kept it out on the counter for the two or three days it takes to consume a loaf, and that’s worked well. Wrap in wax paper or parchment paper once cooled, and then use foil on top of that for a tighter seal. The recipe author says to never use foil right against the bread.
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup dates, cut in thirds (or dried, chopped dates)
1 cup prunes, cut in thirds
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, toasted (at 350° Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then chopped)
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9″x5″x4″ loaf pan with butter, then line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place dates, prunes, raisins, and baking soda in a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over the dried fruits. Mix together and let sit for no less than 1 hour, and up to 2 hours.
In electric mixer bowl, cream butter, add sugar, and beat 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat another 2 minutes. Slowly add flour and stir until incorporated. Add in fruit and stir slowly to combine. Stir in nuts by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 70-80 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out dry. Cool in pan. Remove from pan and peel off parchment paper. Slice, and eat!