A drizzly day always inspires me to turn the oven on and bake, helping to warm the house, fill it with comforting smells, and have a warm, delicious cake to share with my family. It is the last week of school in NSW, so it has the additional bonus of providing a nutrient dense lunchbox filler for our boys' recess. With a folder full of recipes I have collected over nearly three decades, it's also a welcome opportunity to try a new recipe that I have been wanting to make for a long time. Cakes with fruit, nuts, and spices always appeal to me, so a Pear, date and hazelnut recipe from The Sydney Morning Herald (June 19, 2007) beckoned to be made. Determined not to leave our eight acres on this particular day, I substituted ingredients, making it a Pear, fig and nut loaf. With the boys at school, come time for a cup of tea I toasted a slice of loaf and spread it with butter for a warming afternoon tea. With Duncan cutting a couple of slices as well, when our son arrived home from school he asked, "Where has all the cake gone?" We'll just have to make this recipe again.
Pear, fig and nut loaf
Ingredients: 50g (1/2 cup) rolled oats, 300ml milk, 240g (2 cups) self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 100g dried figs, roughly chopped, 1 pear, grated, 75g raw caster sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tbsp honey, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 3 tbsp roughly chopped mixed nuts, plus 2 tbsp extra for top.
Method: Place the rolled oats in a bowl and soak in 300ml of milk for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 21 x 10cm loaf tin with baking paper. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl, add the oats, fruit, sugar, cinnamon, honey, egg, and mixed nuts. Bake for 45 minutes or until the loaf is golden in colour and cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool further. Makes approximately 12 slices.
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