photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 1 loaf.

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
½ teaspoon orange extract
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
Cream cheese (optional)
Orange marmalade (optional)

In a bowl, combine the dates, orange extract, boiling water, and butter. Cover and let cool.

Grease a loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat sugar and egg together, and add to dates, alternating with the sifted ingredients.

Dredge pecans and orange zest in a small amount of flour, and stir into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and let rise for 20 minutes.

While batter is rising, preheat oven to 325º. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with cream cheese and orange marmalade, if desired.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.