This is a wonderful tea bread from Molly Katzen, one of my earlier influences and inspirations in the kitchen. Her recipes have definitely stood the test of time, and I still enjoy discovering a new one that I never tried before. I modified this one only slightly, using margarine instead of butter, and I used almond meal instead of finely chopped almonds. I figured they were pretty close in consistency. I think it was in the oven too long, though. The directions called for 1 1/2 hours, but after 70 minutes, it was starting to get dark, with the inside done, so I stopped the baking at that point. Still quite moist on the inside, but I think next time this will only bake for about 60 minutes. Note: this is not a very sweet bread, just slightly. Really great with tea or coffee. Enjoy!
margarine for the pan
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced dried apricots
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened margarine
1/2 cup honey or real maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup finely chopped almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with margarine.
Place the apricots and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
Sift together the dry ingredients (except the almonds) in a separate bowl.
Stir the margarine plus the honey or syrup into the cooled apricot mixture. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients, orange zest, and almonds. Mix minimally but well.
Spread into the prepared pan, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a probe inserted all the way down comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then rap the pan firmly a few times on its sides and bottom. The bread will slip right out. Cool at least 15 minutes more before slicing.