Fruit, Nut and Cheese Bread

OK, I know what you’re thinking. “Are there prunes in this bread? Nana Clare, just because you’re old, you don’t have to start featuring prunes!”

Fruit, Nut Cheese Bread

I get it. When I was a kid, there were ads of sour faced old folks slurping down prune juice. Not a great incentive to try it. The other ad I remember was a young mother asking, “What should I serve my family? Are three prunes enough? Are five too many?” This was way before Dr. Oz blasted on the scene, so I don’t know if she ever got an answer to her dilemma.

Somewhere over the decades, I realized that prunes have gotten a bad rap. They need a new marketing image. Yes, some distributors are trying by selling them as “singles” or as “pitted plums.” But they need to embrace their “pruniness” and celebrate the sticky sweetness of these high fiber goodies. As for me? I like to sneak them into baked goods because they add a sweet moistness that enhances the flavor of anything they encounter.

And this Fruit, Nut and Cheese Bread is a perfect example. The original recipe called for apricots and I used the few I had on hand. But the majority of the fruit was sliced prunes and you can see how moist and delicious they look. I was afraid I wouldn’t get a picture because my hubby attacked the bread as soon as it came out of the oven. So delicious.

This is another heirloom recipe and one that my daughter has fondly remembered. The original recipe came from a Family Circle Favorite Cheese Recipes Magazine, 1975. I paid $1.25 for the magazine and found many keepers in its pages. Yes, I’ve updated a few of the ingredients to make it more versatile. This bread is one you may enjoy for breakfast, for an after school snack or for dessert. And I think you’ll feel good about serving it…as long as you toss a few extra prunes on the plate.

6 TBS butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS grated orange peel
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup yogurt – plain or vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots and prunes
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Grease a 9″ square pan or two small loaf pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add eggs, beating after each one.
Add orange peel, vanilla, cottage cheese and yogurt
Mix dry ingredients and add them to the butter batter.
Beat just until blended.
Fold in the fruit and nuts.
Bake about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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