Friday, March 23, 2012

Fig Bread

Even though I wasn’t exactly sure of what this recipe would produce, I completely trusted that it would be good. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be like a pound cake or more like a loaf of chewy raisin bread, but since Maida Heatter said it is “old-fashioned and kind-of-healthy-tasting… this is wonderful as a coffee cake” I wanted to try it. It’s from Maida Heatter's Cakes, and if Maida has included a recipe in one of her books, you know it’s well-tested and worth making. This fig bread is made with dried figs, of course, white and whole wheat flour, honey, buttermilk, just a half a stick of butter, and some walnuts. There’s no refined sugar or eggs, and that’s what caused my uncertainty about it. When I cut a slice of the bread, I discovered it was sweet from the honey and figs, but not too sweet, and tasted more decadent than expected for a whole wheat loaf. Maida suggests serving the fig bread plain or toasted, which she notes is “super,” or with butter, cheese, honey, or marmalade. I agree that it is super toasted and enjoyed it on its own with either no other adornment or just a thin coating of butter.

There’s always something interesting in Maida’s instructions. Here, to prepare the loaf pan, she recommends buttering the pan and then dusting it with wheat germ for a brown crust, oatmeal for a chewy crust, or dry bread crumbs. I went with wheat germ, and the crust was nicely browned. To start the bread, white flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda were combined, and whole wheat flour was added and mixed to combine. Dried figs that had been stemmed and chopped were tossed in the dry ingredients to coat. In a separate bowl, honey, buttermilk, and melted butter were mixed, and toasted, chopped walnuts were added. The wet ingredients were folded into the dry ingredients, the batter was poured into the wheat germ-dusted pan, and it baked for about an hour.

As a reward for trusting the recipe, I got a fruit- and nut-filled bread that was perfect for breakfast. It wasn’t too rich or heavy, and it packed enough flavor of its own that toppings weren’t even necessary. It’s rare that I dive into a recipe without a pretty good idea of the outcome, but in this case, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.


29 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous, Lisa. As a devout lover of figs, this is wonderful inspiration. Thank you for sharing and have a beautiful weekend!

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  2. Nice bread.. I like figs..they are sweet and have really special taste, I can imagine that the bread tasted nice..

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  3. A wholesome bread! Love the flavours.

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  4. It looks delicious! Perfect with some butter.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Oh I definitely NEED this! I'm such a sucker for dried figs...they're kinda my most favorite things ever. What a great loaf!

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  6. I'm a huge fan of Maida Heatter, her recipes are always precise and the results, scrumptious! The Fig Bread would be a perfect weekend treat for our rainy and stormy weekend! (Yes, now that's it's officially spring, it is rainy and stormy!)

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  7. I've been making Jim Lahey's fig walnut no knead bread all winter, I am addicted. This version is beautiful, and you know how I feel about figs!

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  8. I think this would be lovely sliced and present with a cheese course. It really sounds great.

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  9. YUM! I love figs, this looks amazing.

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  10. Love, love, love (did I say love) figs. I am so tempted to try and make it as I have all the ingredients, although I know I will be the only one eating it.

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  11. Love, love, love (did I say love) figs. I am so tempted to try and make it as I have all the ingredients, although I know I will be the only one eating it.

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  12. This looks beautiful Lisa. Very well done! I was wondering how you got that look from fresh ones. Love the use of dried in this bread. They would become tender and delicious

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  13. This looks like such a hearty loaf of bread! I love the different textures of figs and nuts. I'm going to have to find the recipe, the results do sound quite surprising given the simple inputs.

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  14. This bread reminds me I bought some figs at the market on Sunday and I need to eat them. Dessert tonight - sorted! Figs and a bit of honey and maybe some yoghurt.

    I would love this bread.

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  15. What an interesting recipe (with the dusting of the tin etc). That cross section is absolutely lovely too! :)

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  16. figs are SO pretty--i love the way the seeds look. magnificent bread, lisa! it couldn't be more full of good stuff.

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  17. That is a beautiful looking bread - so full of goodies! That would be so wonderful served warm with some lovely melted butter xx

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  18. Isn't Maida Heatter the best? I have all her cookbooks. Her sweet bread recipes are divine. I've never tried this one as figs have never been at the top of my list, but it turned out beautifully, Lisa.

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  19. You can't go wrong with Maida Heatter recipes and this one looks perfect.

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  20. Reminds me I need to pull this book out again. I've been in the mood for cake myself, although knowing me, I probably won't pick a nice, healthy option like you. I hope you slathered these delicious looking cake pieces with butter just to make it a little more fun!

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  21. What a gorgeous loaf of bread! I love that the figs stay suspended in the batter and don't sink to the bottom. All I could think when you said breakfast was french toast. Figgy french toast. Divine.

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  22. that's a gorgeously rustic looking bread. looks absolutely yum.

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  23. I love figs and would absolutely love this bread, delicious!

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  24. I love figs and even have some dried figs in the pantry. Unfortunately I don't have the book. Do you think you can email me the recipe, please?
    roxana@roxanagreengirl.com

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  25. This bread looks wonderful. Figs are so delicious, and I definitely don't use them as much as I would like.

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  26. Sounds amazing. We ate a lot of fig bread when we were in Spain and it was loaded with hazelnuts. I cannot wait to try your version. I'd been craving it since we got back

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  27. That looks exceptional that fig bread.

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  28. Oh, it looks divine. I will make this fig bread too (as long as I find fried figs, that is..). Thank you so much, this is the kind of `morning´bread I long. :)

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