Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Figs, Figs, and Figs! (Guesstibaking)
So we have a fig tree. A big one.
Photo:Proof of fig tree ownership
So we have a lot of figs. My mom doesn't really eat figs...so she ASSUMES that everybody in the house dislikes them too. Which is wrong. I love figs. So this year I convinced my mom too keep a few for the house before giving them all away. But too much of a good thing is...well too much.
So I went on an internet journey to find fig recipes. I was really interested in doing a bread since figs and bananas, although share nothing in common on the surface, do have a sort of slimy/mushy consistency. I typed "fig bread recipe" into google, and BAM! tons of recipes. I finally found one I liked. However, it required 3 eggs and I had only 2. It needed buttermilk which I didn't have. It called for plain white sugar but I was hell bent on using honey (figs and honey, its biblical). So here is where I start improving. And the first rule of improv is "Say Yes" (alternatively, don't deny). So I said yes.
First lets get the easy stuff out of the way. Grease and batter bread pans. I used one big pan since we don't have smaller ones, but this "recipe" makes enough for about 2 loaves. Oh, and chop up some walnuts while you're there.
Here's what we will refer to as "The Goop". The Goop consists of 2 cups of fresh fig meat (here mission figs), 1.5 cups of honey, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil of your choice. I think that's it. It should look disgusting at this point. (mmhmm egg, oily, sweet fig goop.)
Dry stuff. 3.5 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon.
Now you make the batter. This is where it gets kind of tricky (for me). If you don't have buttermilk you can make your own by mixing a tablespoon of vinegar with plain milk and letting it sit for ten minutes. If you don't use this substitute the pH will be wrong and the reaction with the baking soda not take place. In addition the substitution of honey for sugar requires less liquid overall since honey is part liquid. The original recipe called for .5 cups of buttermilk...and I eyeballed it, so its about .4 cups of buttermilk substitute.
Baked at 350 for about 45 minutes. I had to drop the heat to about 300 after 20 minutes since it was browning to fast (stupid big pan).
I still had about... well lets just say I still had a lot of figs. So I made some basic fig jam. Its about
1.5 cups of figs with .5 cup splenda and enough pectin to make it thick. Cook on low until desired texture is achieved.
I also made some pancakes with the leftover batter, which turned out fantastic. Served with a little shaved butter. Would be great if I made some type of fig syrup. But, alas, I didn't.
The finished bread. Bread will taste best about 24 hours after its been baked (wrapped in plastic wrap), the texture seems to firm up and retain moisture better.
The finished bread all gussied up. The left has some jam and the right has cream cheese mixed with the jam (sounds strange, but just think of cream cheese frosting on carrot cake...).
Lessons Learned: I don't (Currently) posses the restraint to be a good pastry cook. I enjoy the power of yeast, but as for normal pastries I still can't follow a recipe (probably because I gotta make everything Thomasafied). However, that being said, I still think I did a passing job here. And I did make a dent (a very, very small dent) in my fig arsenal.
So... Who wants some figs?
Thanks for reading.