Bourbon Pecan Bread

3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup bourbon
2/3 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs -- separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely broken pecans
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla

Soak the raisins in the bourbon for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the bourbon. If necessary, add more bourbon to make 1/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans and line the bottoms with greased waxed paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well.

Add the flour in thirds, alternating with the bourbon; mix until well blended.

Stir in the raisins, pecans, and vanilla.

In a large bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (tips curl) when the beaters are raised. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Fold about 2 cups of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it.

Gently fold the remaining beaten egg whites into the batter mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove the breads from the pans and cool on wire racks.