Fig and Raisin Bread (Pan Con I Fichi Secchi E Le Uvette)

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Some years, Easter and my sister’s birthday coincide.  This was one of those years. My brother, who is a middle school teacher in New Orleans, had his school spring break also line up perfectly this year.  So everyone came home to my mom’s.  This is the first time since last May that I have seen my brother and it’s been even longer since all three siblings were together.  It’s funny how quickly we all revert to our younger selves.

This family gathering also gave my mom the excuse to cook!  She has a new (and amazing and beautiful and I really want to make so many things in it) cookbook: My Tuscan Kitchen.

She made me this bread, and it is delicious! It sweet but not too sweet, and soft with chewy fig bits and just really good.

I will be making this one at my house for sure, though I would not recommend this as your first bread.  I would recommend tackling this one first.

 

Fig and Raisin Bread

From My Tuscan Kitchen by Aurora Baccheshi Berti

 

1 cup golden raisins (my mother has these beautiful mixed raisins that are gold and dark and really lovely in this bread)

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup cold black tea

1 1/3 cup dried figs, chopped

2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) dried yeast

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter, softened

1 egg

 

Soak the raisins in a bowl of hot water for at least 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir 1 tbsp of sugar into the tea.  Add in the figs and allow them to soak.

Dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water and allow to proof. Stir in the flour, salt, 2 tbsp of sugar, butter and egg.  Add about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of room temperature water to form a soft dough.  Knead the dough until it is soft and elastic, about 8 -10 minutes.

Drain the fruit and pat it dry.  Sprinkle on a handful of flour and work it into the fruit.  This will help make kneading the fruit into the dough easier.

Using a small amount at a time, add the fruit to the dough and knead it in.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and leave it to rise until doubled – about 1 1/2 hours.

Press down on the dough and either form it into one large or two medium sized round loaves.  Slash the top of the loaves.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise again until about doubled in bulk.  About 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and sprinkle the top of the loaves with a little more flour to give it a nice rustic look.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.

Let cool and then serve with good butter.

 

Fig and Raisin Bread

 

1 cup golden raisins

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup cold black tea

1 1/3 cup dried figs, chopped

2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) dried yeast

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter, softened

1 egg

 

Soak the raisins in a bowl of hot water for at least 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir 1 tbsp of sugar into the tea.  Add in the figs and allow them to soak.

Dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water and allow to proof. Stir in the flour, salt, 2 tbsp of sugar, butter and egg.  Add about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of room temperature water to form a soft dough.  Knead the dough until it is soft and elastic, about 8 -10 minutes.

Drain the fruit and pat it dry.  Sprinkle on a handful of flour and work it into the fruit. Using a small amount at a time, add the fruit to the dough and knead it in.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and leave it to rise until doubled – about 1 1/2 hours.

Press down on the dough and either form it into one large or two medium sized round loaves.  Slash the top of the loaves.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise again until about doubled in bulk.  About 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and sprinkle the top of the loaves with a little more flour.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaves are golden.

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