Monday, January 3, 2011
Maple, Walnut and Fig Bread
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Continuing with the theme of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, I've selected a quick bread to represent the "new" portion of my quartet today. The bread, which comes from a newly revised edition of the cookbook, Amy's Bread, is made with maple syrup, walnuts and figs. The book and the bread are both new to me and thus met the criteria I'd established for classifying a recipe as new. For better or worse, I've developed the habit of perusing cookbooks at the library before buying them. If a book has at least 10 recipes that I find interesting, I'll bring it home and test 2 or 3 of the selections I've made. If they work to my satisfaction, I'll buy the book. Otherwise, I return the book and move on to greener pastures. The approach has saved me a fortune in cookbook costs, and I highly recommend the practice to those who share my love of cooking and the books that expand our horizons. As it happens, while I really liked this bread, I didn't buy the book. It is much like other books already available in a saturated market and it didn't open new doors for me. I'm also beginning to sense that the bread craze, like the cupcake craze before it, may be coming to an end. There is only so much variation possible with flour, yeast and water and there are a lot of angels dancing on the head of the proverbial pin right now. Save for lining the pan with parchment paper to prevent the loaves from sticking, there are no tricks to making this quick bread. It is easy to make and delicious, though the cost of its ingredients quickly mount up and that expense may be off-putting to some. Those of you who like nut breads will love this one. Here's the recipe.
Maple Walnut and Fig Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Amy Scherber, Toy Kim Dupree and Aimee Herring
2 cups dried figs, diced
1/2 cup warm water (85º to 90ºF)
2-2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups cake flour
1-3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2/3 cups maple syrup, divided use
1-1/3 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups toasted walnut pieces
1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 9x 5-inch loaf pans. Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2) Place diced figs in a medium bowl. Add warm water and let soak until softened.
3) Whisk all-purpose flour, cake flour, oats, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
4) Combine maple syrup, milk, eggs, egg yolks, and oil in a medium bowl, stirring until combined.
5) Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon just until all of the flour is moistened. This should be a wet batter. Oats will absorb a lot of moisture during baking.
6) Fold walnuts and figs into the batter (figs need not be drained). Divide the batter evenly between two prepared pans. Bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean. (If your oven bakes unevenly, rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time.)
7) Remove the pans from oven and use a pastry brush to glaze tops of the loaves generously with reservered 1/3 cup maple syrup. Set pans on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the loaves out of the pans and set them on the rack to cool completely before serving.
8) Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. They may also be frozen, wrapped first in aluminum foil and then in plastic wrap or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Yield: 2 loaves.
You might also like these recipes:
Vanilla Bean Banana Bread - Baking Bites
Cardamom Crumb Cake - A Whisk and A Spoon
Best Apple Bread - You Made That?
Apple Cinnamon Bread - Two Peas and Their Pod
Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread - Never Enough Thyme
Quick Bread Round-Up - One Perfect Bite
5 Quick Breads for Holiday Food Gifts - What's Cookin Chicago?
This post is being linked to:
Smiling Sally - Blue Monday