This is a naturally sweet fruit and nut spelt loaf that is crusty on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. Studded with dried figs, apricots, dates and walnuts, it makes for the perfect energy boosting snack or accompaniment to your next cheese platter — or better yet, go ahead and sprinkle it with icing sugar for a healthy, but sweet and tasty dessert.
I have to say, I have always had an aversion to fruit cake. Somewhat of a Canadian tradition, it’s something we had on the Christmas table every year. Even if only one person actually enjoyed it. There are two definite camps on this one: Camp Revere and Camp Loathe. I am convinced Camp Loathe is actually a city. This fruit and nut spelt loaf doesn’t even begin to compare with that booze laden cake. Christmas cake, as we call it back in Canada (yes, cake, even though it’s presented as a loaf), was the kind of thing that had to be made two or three months in advance. Bathed in brandy or cognac, it had the pleasure of being lathered with even more booze on a weekly basis to help with the maturing process. Yes, putting hair on your chest sort of stuff. It was a small, dangerous and dark loaf of fruit bread (aka Bourbon Fruit Cake). I can think of another “d” word there. This time with “y” for Y.U.C.K. The only thing worse was Christmas pudding, but at least watching it getting torched and set into flames before it was served made for jolly good fun. Go on, bring us some figgy pudding.
Unlike things like ballet, anchovies, olives and rutabaga, I never did develop an appreciation or even liking to it. Well, guess what? Nor did I with ballet. I keep waiting for them to break out into song. Ain’t going to happen.
So even with my bias towards fruitcake, I made a fruit loaf. And it’s terrific. A no-knead, no-rise loaf, fruit and nut spelt loaf that was super easy to make. Enjoy!
Fruit & Nut Spelt Loaf
Yields 1 loaf
Adapted from Under the Walnut Tree
150 g whole grain spelt flour
250 g white spelt flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice) (80 g)
8 dried apricots, roughly chopped
6 dried figs, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans (150 g)
500 g Greek yogurt (full-fat)
1/3 cup honey (80 ml)
icing sugar (optional), to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C.
2. Grease a bread tin (30.5 x 13.5 cm, 1.6 liter capacity) and dust with a little flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, salt and baking soda. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together until dough is formed. Go ahead and use your hands to fold, push and turn dough until it can be formed into a ball. Transfer the dough into the prepared bread tin.
4.Bake the loaf in the oven for 45 minutes until the crust is rich, golden brown.
5. Gently remove the bread from the tin, wrap in clean kitchen towel and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
NOTE: The loaf will still feel a little soft in the middle until it fully cools and firms up. Therefore, allow time to fully cool to room temperature before cutting into the loaf.
For Storing: keep wrapped in the kitchen towel, then wrap with a plastic bag.
IMPORTANT! Make sure the bread is fully cooled prior to storing in plastic. We don’t want it sweating!
For Serving: as a sweet and tasty Christmas bread, dust with powdered sugar once completely cooled. Otherwise, it’s fantastic served thinly sliced with your favorite cheese. Enjoy!