Now listen, I don’t choose my friends by what I can get out of the relationship, really I don’t! But, this year my fig tree failed me (or maybe I failed it, given the drought) so when my friend called a few days ago and said her tree was giving her more figs than she could manage to harvest, and would I like some, well… you know where this is going already, right?
Normally I say bake any sort of quick bread on the day you plan to eat it, but this one is a keeper in several senses. I made it a few days ago and it is keeping, in plastic wrap in the fridge, just fine! It is a dense bread, not too sweet, not as “figgy” as I had hoped, but awfully good.
It doesn’t really need any sort of topping, but I got a small container of sheep’s milk yogurt and drained it overnight in the fridge. It makes a wonderful spread, and the tart, tangy almost sourness really plays nicely with the sweet of the bread.
You know, even after years of baking, I am amazed that dry+wet=something so good to eat. I guess chemistry was never my strong suit, but it works. Actually, I’m surprised that I enjoy baking as much as I do. You don’t have the same freedom to interpret as you do with “cooking”, in baking the actual proportions count more than you might think.
Still, I did revamp this recipe a bit. The original recipe made 2 loaves, and I really only wanted to make one (Hey, I planned to eat some of those figs out of hand!).
Halving bread recipes can be tricky, especially when a full recipe calls for 3 eggs. I have still not figured out how to cut that pesky egg in half. So, I went with 2 small eggs and less oil than the actual 1/2 recipe called for. It seems fine. Also, the original recipe called for vegetable oil, but I figured with figs and walnuts (oh yes, I thought walnuts might go nicely instead of pecans), olive oil would be just dandy. Oh, yes.
Anyway, here is my interpretation. I guess maybe I’ve changed it enough to call it my recipe although I’m not entirely sure about that…
Two Bowl One Loaf Fig Bread
2 small eggs
3/4 C sugar
1 C ripe figs, mashed
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 C buttermilk
1/2 C chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour one loaf pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, add the sugar and beat well. Add the mashed figs and olive oil and mix well. Add the vanilla extract and the buttermilk and stir to incorporate. In a second medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices. Add the fig mixture to the flour mixture in two parts, add about 1/2 of the “liquid” and mix well than add the balance and mix again. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick for doneness.
Let the bread cool for 15-20 minutes in the loaf pan. Finish cooling on a rack.
Be sure to let it cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap or foil. Let us know what you think if you try it (if you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a fig tree that is…)!