Fruity Banana Bread
4 ounces ( 1/2 cup, packed) dried apricots
1/3 cup orange juice
Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil, for greasing pan
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
1 cup (about 3 medium) mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup mixed nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or granulated white sugar.
Using kitchen shears, cut each apricot in half lengthwise.
Holding halves together, cut four or five times crosswise.
In a small saucepan, combine apricot pieces and orange juice.
Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Allow to rest until apricots have absorbed most of the liquid, about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place a baking sheet in oven. Spray or oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, and if desired, line with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a microwave oven or small saucepan; reserve.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, blend together reserved butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and orange zest.
Mix in eggs one at a time, then mashed bananas, apricots, and nuts.
Stir in flour mixture one-third at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Scrape dough into pan, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Place pan on a rack to cool.
To serve, remove from pan, and slice thinly.
Serve at room temperature.