Maple, Walnut, and Date Loaf
200g pitted dates
85g brown sugar
80g maple syrup
45g sunflower oil
65g walnut pieces
1 large egg
1 small, ripe banana (75-100g) mashed
200g self raising flour
½ teaspoon (2g) bicarbonate of soda
soft butter, for greasing
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC, use a pastry brush to grease 2 nut loaf tins*, don’t forget the ends.
2. To a medium saucepan, add dates, sugar, maple syrup, oil and water, heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves, then increase heat and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. Put the walnuts onto a baking tray and roast for 8 minutes, remove from oven, leave to cool, then finely chop.
4. Tip the cooled date mixture into a bowl, add the egg, mix to combine, then stir through the mashed banana and walnuts
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt, then sift over the date mixture, stir until just combined.
6. Stand the tins vertically on a baking tray, divide the mixture between the tins, top with the lids, and bake for 30-40 minutes, check after 30 minutes using a wooden skewer or piece of spaghetti, gently press it into the cake, if it comes out clean, the cakes are ready, if not return to the oven, checking again after another 5 minute.
7. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove from the pans, leave on a rack to cool.
8. Best eaten on the day it’s baked, cut into thick slices, spread with butter or your favourite nut butter, or enjoy just as is!
9. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or wrap in a double layer of cling wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
* I used vintage Willow 17cm by 8 cm nut loaf tins, they’re a very specific tin! Use thoroughly cleaned tin cans, their open ends covered with greased foil, as an alternative, or bake in a loaf pan, increasing the cooking time to 50-60 minutes.
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