It was December 1965 when I married Harvey in Illinois. He was originally from a small town in Texas, called Crockett (yes, Davy Crockett once spent the night there – as the rumor goes – but that’s another story).
For our first Christmas together, we received from Texas a fruitcake that his sister, Bernice, made. She had access to the fresh pecans growing on their ranch. This fruitcake did not consist of any flour; it was almost like eating candied fruit. Being very fond of baking, I asked her if she would share her recipe with me and she sent it along in time for me to try it myself for Christmas 1968.
I’ve been making it ever since. The new pecan and date crop is in by November 1st, so that is the time I start making my mini date loaf Christmas cakes for my dear ones for the Holidays. I hope you enjoy it too!
Christmas Date Loaf
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 3/4 – 1 cup of flaked coconut
- 1 lb. Medjool dates (they are my favorite!)
- ¼ cup red candied cherries cut in half
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat oven to 300ºF
- Cut up dates, add coconut and fold in pecan halves.
- Add vanilla to the milk and fold into the fruit.
- Grease and flour 3 mini foil loaf pans (or 1 loaf pan).
- Place several red cherry halves in bottom of greased/floured pans and divide fruit into the 3 pans and top with several red cherries.
- After baking 1 hour, check with toothpick. When it comes out clean, remove. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from foil pans then place on a rack until it reaches room temperature (about 2 hours).
- Wrap and freeze until needed. Will keep up to 6 months.