Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Sweet Thing

Sunday is a great day for baking.  It is a great distraction to keep me out of the department stores too.  Even while I was away on holiday I baked and loved being in the kitchen.  It truly is my 'Happy Place'.

Sometimes you just want something that is sweet and uncomplicated.  For me its Date and Walnut loaf.  You have to love a recipe that involves no creaming of butter and sugar!  You do have to 'cook' the dates beforehand, though this shouldn't be a problem, you can sit and flick through a magazine with a cup of tea, put the washing on or do whatever you 'never find time for' while you wait for the mixture to cool.

I decided to develop my own recipe - touching on the things that I feel go well with dates - orange, cinnamon, and pistachio.  I have given my date loaf a Middle Eastern flavour with the addition of these ingredients, as well as some ground ginger for earthy spice.

Persian Date Loaf

1 1/2 cups pitted dried dates
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
100g butter
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
pinch salt
80g raw pistachio nuts
Zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease and line a loaf pan.  Place dates, water, brown sugar and butter into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add orange zest.  Set aside until completely cool.  When cool beat in eggs.

Sift flour, baking powder, spices and salt together.  Pour date mixture into flour and fold until evenly combined.  Fold in pistachio nuts. 

Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let sit in the tin for 5 mins.  Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

This is a very moorish cake, with a dense texture and a nice zesty orange background flavour.  Enjoy as is, or with a smear of butter, or a dollop of natural yoghurt.  Belly dancing is optional, but encouraged.

Until next time...

Kitty xx

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