I may have mentioned that I make a variety of breads for the Trainer and I. The dark date & pecan spice bread was my first version. With a little tinkering I found a very successfull base and with each loaf I try something a little bit different, trying to find combinations that are especially good.
After our trip to Alaska, Mom liked the bread so much that she started making it for herself, Dad and just about anyone else she could give it to. Dad is very particular about his snacks and meals, he used the have 8 or 9 apricots and 8 or 9 ginger snaps as his evening snack, but somewhere along the line he switched to Mom's granola and apple crisp. This left Mom with a surplus of dried apricots and she decided to try the bread with apricots instead of prunes. For Christmas she sent a small loaf to the Trainer's family and gave us a larger loaf.
The Trainer liked her version and asked me to make my next loaf with apricots. When he had his first slice of this one he said that it was the best. Now, he says that about each loaf I put in front of him, except the gingerbread I'm working on, but he has continued to request this loaf "just the way it is".
6oz (2c.) blanched almond meal
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4oz (1/2c., 15pc) dried apricots stewed in 1/2c. water
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp almond extract
1/2c (10pc) chopped dates or golden raisin
1/2c. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350° F and line a 9x3" loaf pan with parchment paper. Stew apricots in water. ( I discovered a neat trick to this, I put the fruit and water in a jar and leave it on the radiator for several hours) In a blender or food processor puree apricots, with water, egg yolks, applesauce and almond extract. In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/8 tsp salt. Wipe down the inside of the bowl of an electric mixer with cider vinegar, place egg whites and 1/8 tsp salt in the bowl and beat to stiff peaks. Mix apricot puree and and almond meal. With a spatula carefully fold egg whites, dates and pecans into batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Alow to cool for 1 hour before removing from pan and cooling on a wire rack.