It’s no surprise that quick breads are very popular around the holidays. They are easy to prepare and can be made days in advance of the big meal. With so much to do for any holiday feast, any dish done ahead of time is most welcome.
From a healthy standpoint, the downside to quick breads is that often these recipes are loaded with processed sugars. I decided for my challenge I would instead sweeten my bread with fruit and fruit juice. With date, orange, apple and cranberry in every bite, one could easily rename this fruit bread! But trust me, this tastes nothing like any holiday fruit bread most are accustomed to having.
My recipe here is a redux of one I discovered online in Epicurious for Orange Nut Bread, and which first appeared in Bon Appetit in January, 1998. My newer, Recipe Redux version is gluten-free and includes whole grain flours. The butter is replaced with olive oil and apple sauce, the white sugar with dates, and the orange juice concentrate with fresh squeezed juice. Fresh cranberries were used to add tartness. I also added some vanilla extract for nice contrast to the tart cranberries.
Because this bread is sweetened entirely with fruit, the end result is less sweet than typical quick breads. It also holds its shape nicely during slicing and eating, making it a great candidate for use with open-faced sandwiches. Top a slice with leftover turkey and other holiday fixings. Yum!
Tip: When combining the liquid with the dry ingredients, do not worry about stirring your batter too much. Since there is no gluten, you can not cause your bread to turn out tough by over-mixing.
While I did not use nuts, they could also work nicely in this recipe. If desired, stir in a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds when you also add in the fresh cranberries to the batter.
3/4 cup Dates, pitted
3/4 cup Orange juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup Apple sauce, unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
1/4 cup Olive oil
3/4 cup Tapioca flour
1/2 cup Buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Sorghum flour
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Orange peel, grated
3/4 cup Cranberries, fresh
In a small bowl, soak dates in orange juice for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add soaked dates and orange juice to food processor and blend for about a minute, or until dates are pulverized. Continue processing and add in the apple sauce and vanilla extract, then add in eggs one at a time, and lastly slowly add in olive oil. Stop processing.
In a large bowl mix together the tapioca, buckwheat and sorghum flours, baking powder, Xanthan gum and salt. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry 1/4 at a time. Stir the orange peel and fresh cranberries into the batter.
Lightly spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2″ loaf pan with olive oil. Pour batter into pan.
Bake loaf about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove bread from oven and cool 5 minutes in pan. Remove bread from pan onto cooling rack. Cool bread completely. Slice bread for serving.
Store bread at room temperature wrapped in plastic.
Bread will hold at room temperature for 2 days.
Makes about 16 slices.
serving size 1 slice