Neah and Papa brought prunes. Every time they come to visit, my grandparents bring food. When we were younger, it was always a box of doughnuts, and then whatever they had in excess that needed to be shared- a box of apples, walnuts, raisins, some frozen fruit, and, oh yes, prunes. The prunes were so overly dried that we couldn’t sink are teeth into them; being inventive as I am, I sure tried. My mother would throw the prunes into the big chest freezer and there they’d stay. When I started leaving for college, I’d raid the freezer. I would inevitably take a bag of raisins and walnuts, but always left the prunes. Sadly, just no easy way to eat them.
On a whim, I finally decided to grab a bag of those prunes on my last trip home. Surely, they could be used for something. Then one day in early September, an epiphany. I kept finding the lovely Italian prune plums at the markets. I wanted to use them in a loaf of some sort but inevitably kept eating them fresh before I ever got around to baking. And then, with the last bite of the fresh plums in my hand, I pulled out an old recipe I’d been meaning to adapt and there it was. The answer. All these years, I’d been avoiding my grandparents prunes and all they needed was a bit of re-hydration!
Now that I’ve tested this recipe so many times I had to go purchase the not-so-overly dried prunes at our nearby farmstand, I really must say it is my new autumn favorite. Molasses, prunes, spices, and candied-orange peel. Not sickly sweet, nor overly-indulging–just a bit of perfection with a nice cup of steaming tea.Candied-Orange Spice Prune Loaf 9 1/2 oz. gf flour mix (about 2 1/4 cups) 1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum 1 tsp. baking soda 3/4 tsp. salt 1 1/4 cups boiling water 1 cup prunes, diced (about 18 whole prunes) 1/3 cup candied orange peel, diced 1/2 cup orange syrup (or honey) 1/4 cup molasses 1 Tbs. canola oil 1 egg 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 heaping tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 1/8 tsp. ground ginger 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
- Pour boiling water over prunes. Let rest for five minutes. While prunes are resting, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9″ x 5″ baking dish. Line it with a small handful of oats.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Measure out orange syrup, molasses, oil, egg and vanilla. Add them all to the prune mixture. Feel free to substitute honey for the orange syrup.
- Pour liquids into dry mixture and stir in the candied peel.
- Dish into the prepared baking pan. Level with a rubber spatula and sprinkle a few more oats on top for good measure.
- Bake for approximately 55 minutes.
- If you can, store this loaf away in the fridge for a day or two before eating. The flavors will be enhanced!