Day 36: Hmm, date loaf

Delicious date loaf? Yes, Day 36 was another baking day. A fairly simple recipe for a cake that gets more delicious the older it gets.

Baking a date loaf

This one wasn’t hard to make. All you need is flour, eggs, tea, sugar, dates, butter and malt extract. The last one threw me a bit. Malt extract is not something I keep in the cupboard, nor could I find it in the local supermarket. A quick search revealed that you can use honey instead. It probably tastes slightly different than the original, but it still works.

Slowly heat the butter, tea and honey together, before adding the sugar and stirring in the eggs. Add to the flour, and mix in the dates. That’s all there is to it, besides baking it for an hour of course.

Eating the date loaf

As usual, it got slightly stuck in the loaf tin. I should really get some of those fancy silicone loaf tins. Never mind the slight damage though, it’s delicious, albeit a bit dry. Best served with a bit of butter. I will be having  this one again.

Day 24: Pecan maple puddings

Sunday is a good day for backing maply pecan goodness. So that’s what I did. It’s a good way to end a meal, a week and a Sunday. Baking is quite relaxing as you have to focus on what you’re doing. I’m also always slightly surprised by how different the same basic set of ingredients can turn out in different recipes. This recipe was perfect for a winter’s evening.

The making of pecan maple goodness

A fairly simple set of ingredients combines to make this delicious treat. You need pecans, maple syrup, butter, sugar and flour. There’s nothing to complicated about making it. Cream the sugar and butter. Toast the pecans until they start to release their oil, and chop and grind them to powder. Add some eggs, baking powder and splash of vanilla flavouring. Mash it all together. Keep it safe from apparently ravenous cats. The cats seem to always be hungry. Bake for fifteen minutes.

One tip, though – you need to get real maple syrup. In most supermarkets, you’ll find a much cheaper substitute made from sugar syrup and flavouring. Try to get the real thing, as the maple syrup is the crucial ingredient in determining the taste and flavour of the pudding.

The eating

In general, I’m not a big fan of puddings. I’ll make an exception for these: they are amazing. They’re not very healthy, containing a fair amount of sugar and fat (as all cakes and puddings ought to). But they are definitely very yummy. I wouldn’t let them get cold, though, you should eat them warm.

Baking things may become a bit of staple as the year wears on. With another three hundred and forty days to go, I suspect things may get harder to find. But, luckily, there are many things I’ve never baked.

Day 9: Bake a New Year’s Eve Baklava

Day 9 already and it’s time for a baking challenge. One pastry I enjoy is Baklava. So why not try to bake it myself.

Baklava ingredients

The ingredients are relatively simple. One thing I didn’t have, and had never considered needing, is rose water. It’s an interesting taste, and I wonder what else I can do with it.

A bit of substitution was required as I didn’t have enough pistachios so added some macadamias.

Halfway through layering

Lots of fiddling with filo pastry was required. As was putting a fresh paintbrush into use as a butter brush.

I’m quite happy with the end result though. It tastes vaguely of Baklava. 🙂

The final product - Baklava