Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dates or apricots?

I needed something for my morning teas this week, so I decided to whip up an apricot loaf (p27). It's a variation on the date loaf recipe, i.e exactly the same, only with apricots instead of dates.

To soften the apricots, you chop them up and put them in a bowl with boiling water, baking soda and butter, stir it all together and then leave it for an hour.

When the soaking time is up, you add sugar, egg, walnuts and vanilla essence to the mixture, and beat it through. Finally, sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix it carefully until just combined. I find this incredibly difficult, and always end up overmixing my ingredients because I can't seem to get it all combined.

The combined mixture goes into the oven for 45 minutes. I'd written "40" next to this after trying the date version,  so I started checking the apricot loaf after about 35 minutes. I needn't have been so careful: this one took the full 45. I did have to place a piece of baking paper over the top part-way through the cooking time, otherwise the top would have burnt.

The resulting loaf was quite an interesting combination of crunchy crust and soft, fruity loaf. I suspect the crust isn't actually part of the intended result, but actually I liked the texture it added. Soaking the apricots had made them soft and juicy, so there was no chance of the loaf being too dry.

Overall, I liked it. Is it better than the date version? Actually, I think it might be!

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