Walnut Date Bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant cup boiling water
1 cup chopped pitted dates
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Strawberry cream cheese, optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously oil a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
Place butter, baking soda, boiling water and dates into a heatproof mixing bowl. Let cool. Mix in walnuts, sugar, egg yolk, flour and vanilla extract. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan onto rack to cool. Slice and serve with strawberry cream cheese and freshly brewed tea.