Sunday, December 11, 2011

Apricot Gift Bread

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Apricot almond gift bread is one of Susan Purdy’s fantastic recipes from Pie in the Sky. If you are going to give cakes as gifts, make sure they are moist ones. Fruit helps keep them moist as does adding things like carrots, zucchini, and rum-soaked dried fruit. Yes I like fruit cake, so stop making fun of me! Or you can do like the English and soak the whole thing in liquor after it's baked.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons AP flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons wheat germ
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup blanched almonds chopped
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large room temp eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and position the rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Coat 3 small loaf pans with non stick spray coating and then line them with parchment. Spray the parchment and dust with flour, tap out extra. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, powder, soda, salt, sugar and wheat germ. If using a food processor, put 1 tablespoon of flour mixture into it with the apricots and pulse till they are cut into 1/4 inch bits. Now add the apricot mixture to the flour mixture along with the almonds. In a medium bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk and extracts. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and throw in the wet stuff. Mix by hand until well blended, but don’t overmix. Scrape the batter into prepared pans each about 2/3 full. Bake small pans for 30-35 minutes. If you decide to do one large loaf bake that for 60-65 minutes.

Susan suggests an optional icing which is simply made with 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons liquid (water, milk or fruit juice). Drizzle on top when cake is cold. Susan also suggests you can do variations with different dried fruit, nuts and different extracts.