I can't explain what possessed me to make this... dare I say.... fruit cake. I never made one before. I'm not even a big fruit cake fan. So I can't explain my need to make this loaf. I found the recipe on www.joyofbaking.com. It looked interesting and I had an over abundance of dried fruit in the house. Maybe that was it. I don't know but it came out great. I used 5 mini loaf pans instead of one 9 x 5 loaf which helped with the baking since my oven is set so low. I did compensate and get the temperature in the oven up to 300 degrees. It did not seem like this loaf would even hold together. There are more fruit and nuts than batter so it is probably better for you than the average fruit cake. My mother absolutely loved it and so did my husband. I had no idea he even remotely liked fruit cake. I thought it was pretty good, too. So give this recipe a chance if you have the opportunity. I think you'll like it. It may even change your opinion of the dreaded fruit cake!
Keep in mind that you don't have to use the dried fruits that are recommended in the recipe. As long as you use 3 cups of dried fruit and 3 cups of chopped nuts you will be fine. Just be careful about buying good quality, fresh dried fruit (which sounds like an oxymoron). I used cranberries, apricots and figs for the dried fruit and pecans instead of walnuts. I think that any way you mix it, this loaf will be tasty.
Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf
3/4 cup (95 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
3 cups (300 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts (can also use pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds)
1/2 cup (65 grams) dried cherries and/or cranberries
2 cups dates and figs, pits removed and cut into quarters
1/2 cup (85 grams) dried apricots, cut into quarters
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dried Fruit and Nut Loaf: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a vegetable oil spray, a9 x 5inch (23 x 12 cm) (8 cup) loaf pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, walnuts, and dried fruits. Use your fingers to make sure that all the fruits and nuts have been coated with the flour mixture. In a separate bowl, beat (with a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer) the eggs and vanilla until light colored and thick (this will take several minutes). Add the egg mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix until all the fruit and nut pieces are coated with the batter. Spread into the prepared pan, pressing to even it out.
Bake for about 60 to75 minutes, or until the batter is golden brown and has pulled away from the sides of the pan. (If you find the loaf over browning, cover with aluminum foil.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, lift the loaf from the pan. To store, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This loaf is best after being stored for a couple of days. Will keep for about 2 weeks at room temperature or for a couple of months in the refrigerator. Cut into small slices with a sharp knife.
Makes one - 9 x 5 inch (20 x 13 cm) loaf.