The Date Loaf
A deliciously rich feast for the palate during the holiday season
This one must be one of the quickest and healthiest recipes I've ever come across.
It happened after a 24-hour flight to Sydney: I was with my host family and completely jet lagged. I just wanted to go to sleep, but Alicia, my host "sister", had already organised an elaborate coffee and cake affair with all her friends. One of the dishes on the table was the heavenly date loaf. That was last year, just before Christmas and this year, with Christmas just around the corner again, I couldn't get this bread out of my head. I've never really tried making it myself before, but now that I have, I'm certain it will make a frequent appearance on my dinner table.
This one is seriously quick and easy to make - with just a handful of ingredients. It doesn't contain any sugar, butter or egg, making it perfect for vegans. The dates alone give the bread its sweet flavour.
Dates belong to the berry family. They are sweet, succulent, very aromatic and versatile as well as healthy. They grow on trees that are native to many countries, from Iran to the Greater Maghreb all the way to California. Dates contain a lot of natural and easily digestible sugar and plenty of minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and copper as well as lots of fiber and B vitamins. Their high fiber content being extremely beneficial to the digestive tract, dates are also said to be a great remedy for oral inflammatory conditions and sore throats.
I love dates as a sweet in-between snack, but they're also an amazing accompaniment to ham and cheese as well as an intensive addition to baked goods and various oriental dishes.
…And last but not least, I was able to gain heavenly support for my delicious date bread (for you non-German speakers out there, the poem is a story told by Santa's Little Helper. He speaks of a problem we can all relate to: it's Christmas and all those recipes from yesteryear are a bit stale. What to do? It should be simple but delicious, it should go with sweet and savoury things - and wine. Dates! And the little Baby Jesus pokes his head out the Pearly Gates, tells him to hurry up and whispers the idea of a bread made of dates into his ear, brought over by Santa from one of his exotic trips to Australia, delicious and healthy like nothing else on the menu. It's so easy that everyone including Santa's Little Helper can relax and take a break from all that seasonal cookie-baking madness. The little Baby Jesus himself says he will come down to Earth this year, just to taste it.)
Knecht Ruprechts Date Loaf
Von drauß‘ vom Walde komm ich her,
muss Euch sagen, es weihnachtet sehr!
Wo nehm‘ ich nur ein tolles Rezept jetzt her?!
Vom Kopf bis zu den Zehen,
kribbeln tolle Ideen!
Doch einfach und köstlich sollt‘ es sein,
passend auch zu pikant und Wein.
Da fielen mir die Datteln ein…
Und droben aus dem Himmelstor
sah mit großen Augen das Christkind hervor.
Knecht Ruprecht, rief es, alter Gesell,
hebe die Beine und spute dich schnell!
Santa has you something to tell:
Von Australien bringt er uns was Feines,
gesund und köstlich wie sonst Keines!
Alte und Junge können nun
vom Back- und Keksstress einfach ruhn;
haben mit dem Date Loaf kaum was zu tun!
Und morgen flieg ich hinab zur Erde,
weil ich’s auch probieren werde:
Auf Evas Blog!
And here, finally, the fastest heavenly recipe on Earth for the so-called „Date Loaf“, featured in today's print issue of Gusto. Happiness!
That beautiful onion-pattern porcelain? Got it from Kahla.
- 350g dates, deseeded
- 200ml hot water
- ½ cup freshly brewed coffee
- 120g (gluten-free) flour
- 1-2 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP gingerbread spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon and/or other Christmassy spices)
- 1 banana
- 2 TBSP milk, optional (vegan option: almond or rice milk)
- chopped almonds to sprinkle
- Put deseeded dates into hot water along with half a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Leave to steep for at least 5 hours, better overnight.
- Afterwards, mix the dates with the flour, baking powder and gingerbread spice. Preheat oven to 180°C (fan). Mash the bananas and add to the mixture. Also add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, if you like – the banana and the milk are not mandatory, but make the bread a little more moist.
- Line a square or oblong baking sheet with parchment and pour the dough onto it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top and bake it in the oven for around 35-40 minutes.