Apricot and Cranberry Nut Bread

It's only another month until Christmas, have you noticed? It always comes as a surprise to me. Christmas suddenly just stands in front of the door. The main reason for the surprise factor is probably that I will never get used to the fact that the weather can be sunny and warm/hot over Christmas. I come from Germany. Christmas has to be cold, dark and gray. Only in lucky years white with snow.

Now here in Dubai it is quite the opposite: sunny and warm. Nevertheless, I have christmas-sy cravings: freshly cracked nuts and dried fruit. Both are very traditional parts of how I grew up up celebrating the Christmas time. When I was a kid, our family would spend dark and cold evenings cuddled up on the sofa, cracking walnuts and hazelnuts and eat them with tiny pieces of marzipan. Dried fruit would be in all sorts of Christmas cakes, most of all in the German Christmas Stollen.

The idea behind this bread was rooted in my Christmas cravings. I cracked the hazelnuts and pecans myself (which took forever), but I was in no rush. I love the taste of these nuts. By adding just a few, they are not overwhelming. But they are in every other bite.
The bread is not overtly sweet, but the fruity sweet flavor from the cranberries and apricots is just enough to have make it suitable for afternoon tea. A little drizzle of honey can help adding some more sweetness. I like to have it with a dollop of  natural yogurt and some chopped dried fruit. A complete guilt-free start of the Christmas season. Let the baking begin!

(Print Recipe)

1 cup whole almonds (or 1 1/3 cups almond meal)
1/3 cup hazelnuts and pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries*
1/2 cup water

3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Serve with
strained yogurt
chopped dried fruit

* Many dried cranberries contain added sugar, as they are naturally not sweet enough. If you want to make this cake without added sugar, swap them with raisins.

Serves 8
Preheat oven to 180C/375F. Grease or line loaf tin with parchment paper.

Place the apricots and cranberries in a small pot. Pour over the water and simmer gently until almost all water has been soaked up. Place mixture in a food processor. Add the hazelnuts and pecan nuts. Blend to a slightly chunky paste. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in baking soda, vinegar and coconut oil, until well combined. Set aside.

Process the whole almonds in a food processor to a fine meal. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the dried fruit mixture. Then gently fold in the egg mixture.

Transfer batter to the prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack. Cut into wedges or slices. Serve with strained yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

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