The next bread on my Modern Baker Challenge line-up was the Date Walnut Bread. We are baking our way through Nick Malgieri’s “The Modern Baker”, not necessarily in the order that is given in the book. Check my sidebar to see which breads I’ve already made.
I’m not too fond of dates, so I wasn’t really sure if I should use some other dried fruit instead. But then there was this gardening day at my younger kids’ daycare last Friday where a couple of parents (including myself) volunteered to help with the spring-cleaning, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring some cake for the hungry helpers.
I thought that 1 pound of dates was quite a lot. I used 7 oz of dates and 9 oz of cranberries instead. Also, I didn’t use walnuts. I intended to, but when I saw the price of walnuts, I was too cheap to buy them. The recipe calls for 7 oz of walnut pieces – 3,5 oz are 3 US dollars. 6 dollars for walnuts only? No, by no means! Chopped almonds are a VERY common baking ingredient in Germany, so I substituted almonds for the walnuts. They are soooo much cheaper: 7 oz of chopped almonds were $0,65!!!
OK, so now that I had all the ingredients, I placed the snipped dates, cranberries and butter (the whole recipe calls for only 1 tblsp of butter – would that work at all?) in a bowl, covered them with boiling water and let the mixture stand for 1 hour. Then I whisked the eggs, added the sugar, whisked some more and added the vanilla. Then I folded the date cranberry butter mixture into the egg mixture. In a separate bowl, I mixed the flour with baking soda and salt, stirred the flour mixture into the date-cranberry and egg mixture along with the almonds, scraped the batter into my prepared Bundt pan (yes, every organized German household has a Bundt pan) and baked the bread for about 1 hour.
Before I took the bread to the daycare gardening day, I had to taste a slice to know if I could offer it at all. My first thought was: “Do I really want to give this away? It is sooooo good!”. Yes, it was delicious. The combination of dates, cranberries and almonds was just awesome. And believe me, 30 minutes after I had put this bread on the garden table, every single slice was gone. Looks like this is a winner recipe!