the appetizer:

Serve breakfast breads and other treats anytime with Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More by Carole Walter, with inspirations like Irish Whiskey Cake; Midnight Chocolate Glaze; and Zucchini Loaf with Apricots and Dates.

I Love Desserts

Zucchini Loaf with Apricots and Dates

Zucchini Loaf with
Apricots and Dates

Makes 1 medium loaf, 6 to 8 servings


Zucchini is a vegetable that marries well with other flavors because of its neutral taste. Here, the batter is mingled with tongy dried apricots, sweet dates, and a zesty assortment of spices. Toasted walnuts add a touch of crunch. When all of these flavors mellow, this becomes a marvelous tea loaf that you won't want to miss. When preparing the fruit, do not cut the pieces too large.

At A Glance

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with baking parchment, then butter the parchment. Set aside

2. Scrub the zucchini well using a vegetable brush, trim the ends, but do not peel. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch chunks. Shred the zucchini in a food processor fitted with the medium shredder blade using light pressure on the pusher. You should have about 4 cups. (Alternatively, the zucchini may be shredded on the half-moon side of a box grater.)

3. Transfer the zucchini to a colander and sprinkle with the salt, working it through to distribute evenly. Place an 8-inch plate directly on top of the zucchini and weight it down with a heavy object, such as a large can of tomatoes. Let stand for 30 minutes to exude the liquid, then take handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze firmly to remove additional liquid. Set aside.

4. Place the diced apricots in a microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to cover. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Empty into a strainer and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well on paper towels.

5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and coriander. Set aside.

6. Place the eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.

7. Add the brown sugar, then the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 2 to 3 minutes for each one. Beat for 2 minutes longer, or until the mixture is thickened and lightened in color. Scrape the side of the bowl as needed.

8. Combine the butter and oil. With the mixer on, pour in the butter/oil mixture in a steady stream. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the zucchini and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once, mixing Just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the machine.

9. Toss the apricots, dates, and walnuts with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Using an oversize rubber spatula, fold gently into die batter.

10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springy to the touch. A wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

11. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. When the loaf is almost cool, invert onto the rack. Remove the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and turn die loaf top side up and cool completely. To serve, cut the loaf into i/^-inch slices with a serrated knife, using a back-and-forth sawing motion.

Storage: Store at room temperature, tightly covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, for up to 5 days, or refrigerate for up to 10 days.This loaf may be frozen.

"Zucchini's name is Italian, a derivative of the word meaning 'sweetest.'"
          —Bert Greene

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This page created January 2008