Monday, 12 March 2012

Chocolate Iced Maple and Pecan Loaf

I had some maple syrup left over from pancake day so thought I'd give this one a try. It is incredible, with a deep, rich maple flavour and satisfying texture. You can leave the chocolate icing off if you prefer it without but I think it makes a big difference. Also, as always it's incredibly easy to make!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus a bit of time to let things cool down)
Baking time: 60 Mins
175g Maple Syrup
175g Medjool Dates (Roughly chopped, stones removed)
50g Light Muscovado Sugar
150ml Milk
175g Self Raising Flour
100g Unsalted Butter (Plus extra for greasing)
2 Medium Eggs
150g Pecans (Bashed up roughly)

100g Dark Chocolate (I used a 71% Grenada Chocolate company bar)
2tbsp Golden Syrup

Pour the maple syrup into a saucepan, then throw in the dates and sugar. Tip in the milk, then warm the mixture through on a low heat until it's nicely combined. Turn the heat off and leave for 20-30 minutes, by which time the dates would have started to melt into the velvety mapley concoction.

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and grease/line the base of a 22cm loaf tin. In a mixing bowl rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in the maple syrup mixture (including the dates) and briskly mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Crack in the eggs one at a time and do the same. Tip in 125g of the pecans (keeping 25g back for later) and gently fold them through. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes, until a metal skewer can be cleanly removed from the centre. Leave in the tin for 30 minutes of so, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. It should come out of the tin relatively easily, but if not just run a butter knife gently along each side of the cake which should help release it.

To make the icing break the chocolate up and melt it either over a bain-marie, or in the microwave if you're confident doing it that way. When it's nicely melted stir through the golden syrup. Spoon the icing onto the cooled cake and level out with a flat knife or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over the last 25g of pecan nuts then slice and annihilate at your leisure!

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