Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Date and Dark Muscovado Loaf

I think too often there's a tendency to reach for the spice rack when making fruit based cakes or loaves (I've been guilty of it myself), but sometimes it's nice to just let the main ingredients speak for themselves. This date loaf is a great example, as the sweet toffeeness of the dates marry well with the deep, almost liquorice flavour of the dark muscovado. If you can't resist then of course try adding some spicing, such as ginger or cinnamon. For now though I'll leave mine as it is!

Prep Time: 10 Mins (Plus an hour soaking time)
Baking Time: 60 Mins
375g Chopped Dried Dates (You should be able to buy them ready chopped)
200ml Boiling Water
100g Softened Butter (Plus extra for greasing)
175g Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 Large Egg (Beaten)
200g Self Raising Flour

Tip the dates out into a bowl then pour over the boiling water. Leave the soak for about an hour, stirring occasionally. You should end up with an unctuous infusion, that has the colour of toffee.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease/line the base of a 22cm loaf tin. Rub the sugar through your fingers into a large bowl, which should help get rid of any lumps, then add in the butter and briskly cream together. Tip in the egg, followed by the date mixture and beat until combined. Sift in the flour, mix it all up to a consistent batter then spoon into the prepared tin. Bake in the oven for around 60 minutes, until a metal skewer can be removed cleanly from the centre. It's worth checking after 45 minutes and if it's brown enough on top, you can cover it with some foil. Take the loaf out, but leave in the tin for half an hour, then remove and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack. You can enjoy this one on it's own or sliced and spread with something delicious!

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