Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back into baking

I haven't done any baking for a while. In fact, I didn't need to do any baking for the whole of January, since I was still making my way through the remains of my totally excessive Christmas baking: I can't imagine what made me think I'd need so much. Still, having finally eaten the last piece of Christmas cake, I'm now in need of baking for my morning teas.

I haven't done much from the 'scones, muffins and loaves' chapter, so I thought I'd pick something out of there this week. Date loaf (p27) is always a favourite (though I don't recall ever trying this particular recipe) so I decided to give that one a go.

It's best if you make a start on this a while before you actually intend to bake it, as the dates need to be soaked in boiling water with baking soda and butter for an hour. As long as you're organised, you can set this up and do something else for an hour while your dates go all soft and gooey in the hot water.

When the hour's up, just beat in brown sugar, an egg, some walnuts and vanilla essence, then fold through the dry ingredients. I stupidly used my Pyrex jug for this - a good size for soaking the dates, but not so great once you've added a few more cups of ingredients. It was difficult to combine the ingredients with so little room in the jug, the result being that the mixture was a bit overworked before I had it all combined.

I poured the mixture into a lined loaf tin and popped it in the oven. The recipe had a cooking time of 45 minutes; I set the timer for 40 and took it out to test when the buzzer went off. The top was quite dark (and split, likely because of my overmixing) but I was a little worried that the centre might still be a bit gluggy. It's hard to tell from the toothpick-test when you have those sticky dates in there to gunge up the toothpick. I didn't want to risk drying out the loaf though, so I decided not to put it back in for the final five minutes.

I left the loaf in the tin for ten minutes, then turned it out onto a rack. I cut into it immediately, of course, because I just couldn't resist a slice of date loaf warm from the oven. It wasn't at all heavy in the centre as I'd feared: in fact, it had quite a light spongy texture. There were chunks of walnut to give it a bit of bite, and, of course, those lovely sweet gooey bits of date. As date loaves go, this is a pretty good one. I think I'll be making this again.

1 comment:

  1. Yummm, now if you lived a little closer.....
    Must give it a go some time though.c


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