Fancy Fig Bread
|2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 (9-oz.) package dried California figs, stemmed and chopped
1 cup chopped
hazelnuts or other nuts
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk or plain yogurt
1/2 cup light or dark molasses or honey
This easy bread uses the muffin
method, meaning you mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients
separately, then together. The secret to success is to mix
just enough to moisten the dry ingredients—no more than
25 strokes or stirs. Bake the bread a day in advance then
wrap the cooled loaf in plastic wrap until ready to enjoy;
the flavors blend as it stands. Cut slices with a long, serrated
knife and serve with butter or whipped cream cheese. Opt for
either dried California Black Mission figs or the lighter
colored Calimyrna—the choice is yours. Either variety
adds wonderful flavor, texture, and moisture. Select light
or dark molasses or honey as the sweetener, depending on your
preference. Using molasses results in a rich, dark bread.
The honey (historically a longtime a companion of figs) makes
a lighter-colored bread. Add nuts, if you wish, but you’ll
find the crisp and crunchy fig seeds add plenty of texture.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or generously butter bottom and
sides of pan and then dust with flour. In large mixing bowl,
stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Stir in
figs and nuts. In medium mixing bowl or 1-quart measure, beat
eggs, oil, milk, and molasses or honey until blended. Pour
egg/milk mixture into flour mixture and stir just until dry
ingredients are moistened, no more than 25 strokes. Turn into
prepared loaf pan and spread batter evenly. Bake until thin
metal or wood skewer comes out clean, about 55 minutes to
1 hour. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then loosen edges with
tip of sharp knife. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
Wrap cooled bread in plastic wrap to retain moisture. Makes
1 (9x5x3-inch) loaf, 12 to 16 slices.