Fennel Fig & Almond Bread

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Preparation info

  • Makes one

    9 × 5 × 3 inch

    loaf
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

This delicious bread was inspired by a fragrant golden raisin, fennel, and cornmeal bread created by my friend Amy Scherber, owner of Amy’s Bread in New York City. The touch of fennel is a perfect foil for the figs and somehow emphasizes their sweetness. To crush the fennel seeds, place them in a jelly-roll or small roasting pan and press on them with the bottom of a heavy saucepan.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • cups (8 to 9 ounces/225 to 250 grams) stemmed and diced white or black dried figs
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces/100 grams) slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • One 9 × 5 × 3-inch (23 × 13 × 7-cm) loaf pan, buttered and the bottom lined with a rectangle of parchment or buttered wax paper cut to fit

Method

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and fennel seeds in a medium bowl and stir well to mix.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, then beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Beat ½ the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture, then gently beat in the milk, about ⅛ at a time. Beat in the remaining flour mixture. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the figs and almonds.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the bread until it is well risen and a toothpick or a narrow-bladed knife inserted into the center of the bread emerges clean, about 1 hour.
  6. Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold it and cool it completely on a rack. Transfer the bread to a platter or cutting board before serving.

Serving

Cut the bread into thin slices and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Storage

Keep the bread under a cake dome or loosely wrapped in plastic wrap on the day it is made. Wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 or 4 days. Freeze for longer storage.