This dense and earthy loaf is lovely for morning and afternoon tea. Its warm spices and caramel sweetness are perfect for the season.
1½ cups dried dates
100 grams melted butter or coconut oil
½ cup milk (dairy or almond milk will both work)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup buckwheat flour
¾ cup spelt flour (I’ve used a wholemeal spelt flour)
1 cup ground almonds
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large pears, 1 peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 additional large pear, sliced lengthwise to sit on top (ideally use a mandoline)
Line a 23cm loaf tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well. Add to a food processor, along with the butter, milk and vanilla. Blitz for a couple of minutes until the dates are a rough puree.
Add the eggs and pulse for a minute to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Use a spatula to transfer all the batter into a large bowl. Fold through the pear cubes. Pour batter into the loaf tin. Wiggle loaf tin on a benchtop to flatten surface.
Use paper towels or a tea towel to pat the additional pear slices dry. Tile on top of the loaf. Bake for 50–60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool for 1 hour before cutting.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. Freezes well for up to 2 months. Makes 1 loaf.