Steamed Bread: Apricot-Date Nut Bread with Caramel Sauce

Steamed breads are so versatile. We love the outdoors and are always looking for interesting and different foods that we can cook while camping and steamed breads can be cooked as you lounge around the campfire. They make wonderful treats at home. And they make great emergency fare since you don't need an oven or even a range to cook these breads.

We put the following recipe together for a trip into the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming with a group of varsity scouts. We started it cooking next to the morning fire and by the time breakfast was over and the dishes were done, the bread was ready. It was a little rich for morning food--more like a cake than a bread--but these backpackers didn't seem to mind and it certainly turned out good enough to be a treat at home.

Apricot-Date Nut Bread with Caramel Sauce

11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apricot nectar
2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped Brazil nuts

Caramel Sauce

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup dry milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. (If you are taking this camping, combine these ingredients in a plastic bag before leaving.)

Stir in the juice until just combined. (An individual serving-sized can of apricot nectar is just about the right size.) Stir in the dates and nuts. (If you prefer, you can substitute raisins, dried apricots, or cranberries for the dates. Of course, you can use your favorite nuts.)

Pack the dough into a well-greased large can or other cooking container. Cover the top with heavy foil and tie it securely with string.

Place the can on a rack in a large pan or kettle. (At camp, a few clean pebbles work as well as a rack.) Fill the pan with water and set it to simmer. Let the pan simmer for two hours, adding water as necessary. When done, invert the bread onto a plate and slice to serve.

For the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir. Then stir the water and dry milk together and add to the pan. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, about five minutes at low heat. Add the vanilla. Serve hot or cold over the nut bread. (For camping, put the dry ingredients in a plastic bag adding the vanilla to the brown sugar. Melt the butter, add the dry ingredients and then the water.)

For more articles like this visit The Bakers' Library.

© 2004 The Prepared Pantry

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