I’ve been making date nut bread for years; it’s one of my favorite fall quick breads.  While I was browsing for recipes, I came across this fig and date combo which sounded fantastic.

The dried figs smelled like pure, sweet honey; so good.  Soaking the figs and dates in boiling water and baking soda helps to soften them and break down any tough fibers.

I made some orange honey cream cheese to go along with the bread, but you could skip it and do plain cream cheese or nothing at all.

 

Fig Date Bread

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma 
 
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup chopped dried figs
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, atroom temperature
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
 

Preheat an oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour a 1-lb. loaf pan (I used a 9″ x 5″ pan, but I might try mini loaves next time).

In a large bowl, combine the dates, figs, butter and baking soda. Pour in the boiling water, stir well and let stand for 15 minutes.  While the figs and dates are soaking, get another bowl, and whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder and salt.

Using whisk, beat the sugar, walnuts and eggs into the date mixture; set aside.  Add flours to the date mixture and stir until just blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto the rack and let cool completely. Makes 1 loaf.

 

Orange Honey Cream Cheese

 
4 oz softened cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons honey
zest of one orange
 

Cream all ingredients together until completely smooth.  Refrigerate to firm up.

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