Date Nut Bread

Loaded with dates and toasted pecans, this is a deeply satisfying quick bread. The dates are soaked in warm water to soften, then puréed to make a thick fruit butter. This purée, along with the yogurt, is what gives the cake its moistness. Slather a slice with butter or serve it with a plate of after-dinner cheeses.

Ingredients

  • Butter for the pan
  • cups pecan halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large Medjool dates, halved and pitted

Dry Mix

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
  • ½ cup teff flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • cup honey
  • ½ cup plain yogurt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the pecans in the oil and salt and spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet. Toast the pecans in the middle of the oven until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Set the pecans aside to cool, but keep the oven heated.
  2. Meanwhile, bring ½ cup water to a boil and pour over the dates. Let the dates soften while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Rub a standard loaf pan lightly with butter.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grains or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter, and set aside.
  5. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to medium speed and cream until light in color, about 3 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend the dates with the soaking water until smooth. Scrape the date purée into a medium bowl. Add the eggs, honey, and yogurt to the date purée and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour half of the date mixture into the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the remaining date mixture into the bowl, then the remaining flour, and mix on high speed for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients. Add the pecans and stir them throughout the batter.
  8. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top.
  9. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. When it is ready, the bread will smell like it is on the brink of burning; it should be deeply brown and even darker along the edges; and a skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.
  10. As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, flip it out of the pan; then flip it right side up and transfer it to a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool thoroughly before you slice into it. It can be kept, tightly wrapped, for 3 days.