Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fig and tea bread

Yesterday Lester got some fresh figs and made fig-maple-walnut cake and served it with creme fraiche; it looked just like the linked picture and is fantastic and I'm eating more right now. For Yael's birthday tomorrow, I thought about making it again, but adapted this fig bread instead. It's nice too, spicier and softer, with little hints of crunchiness from the fig seeds. I thought the fennel might be weird but it's not at all.

1 c coarsely chopped fresh figs
1 c boiling water
1 PG Tips teabag
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c olive oil
2 eggs
1.25 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 t fennel seeds, ground with the mortar&pestle
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350F and butter and flour a loaf pan. Put the figs, water, and teabag in a bowl and let steep together while you mix up the cake. To do so, cream together the sugars, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients (everything else) in a small bowl, then mix into the wet ingredients. Lift the fig parts out of the tea and plop them into the batter. Discard the teabag and pour 1/4 c of the tea-fig liquid into the batter too. Stir gently to mix, then pour into the loaf pan. Bake for about an hour until a toothpick comes out clean.

While it's baking, simmer the leftover tea-fig liquid (with a few remaining fig bits you missed at the bottom, and maybe a squeeze of honey) in a small saucepan until reduced (about 20 minutes). Mush the fig paste up with a spoon until it's as smooth as it's going to get. When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack. While the cake is cooling, spread the fig paste on the top in a thin even layer (although some parts are chunkier than others). When fully cool or at bedtime, wrap in parchment then in foil, and take to work with creme fraiche the next morning. Happy birthday Yael!

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