Serious Eats: Recipes

Bread Baking: Walnut Apricot Bread

"The resulting bread has a beautiful mahogany crust, and a subtle walnut flavor."

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[Photograph: Donna Currie]

People often ask me how I come up with the unusual flavors in some of my breads. Sometimes I'm trying to create a particular flavor profile, and sometimes it's a matter of being creative with what I have lying around. In this case, someone had given me a bag of raw walnuts, and seeing them on the kitchen counter got me thinking about ways to use them up.

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Bread was the obvious answer, but what sort of bread? I wasn't in the mood for sweet, sticky, chunky, nutty rolls. When I thought about the flavor of walnuts, I decided they'd add an interesting flavor component to the loaf without overwhelming it. Since I didn't want obvious hunks of walnut, I decided to grind them into a paste.

Rather than adding sugar, I wanted to go with a natural sweetness. I had Turkish apricots on hand, and the combination sounded appealing. I used exactly 14 dried apricots (because that's what I had at the time). As with the walnuts, I decided to incorporate them into the dough as completely as possible, so into the food processor they went with the walnuts.

The resulting bread has a beautiful mahogany crust, and a subtle walnut flavor. It's not sweet at all; perfectly appropriate plain, with a little butter, or for a sandwich. I think it's particularly tasty with cream cheese, and it would make a great base for an appetizer with cream cheese and thin slices of cucumber.

Walnut-Apricot Bread

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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