If like me I’m sure you’ve eaten and drunk a little too much over the last few weeks throughout the feasting season. However I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying some of my favourite festive flavours that little bit longer. Resolutions for the year ahead are redundant in our household, so this post won’t be focusing on healthy eating tips to kick start the year off – although I’m sure they’ll follow at a later date. Instead I’m looking to prolong and preserve the taste of Christmas, helping to banish the January blues. And besides it is far too cold outside currently to be thinking about salads, bulgur wheat and detox juices!
Figs, pears and cloves create a gorgeous warming flavour combination. Add to a simple white bread recipe and you’ve baked a delicious loaf, which may remind you of a fruit strudel. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face, regardless of the fact you’ve probably gone back to work today. Give it ago and let me know what you think. Or let me know what you’re baking to help you get through January.
Pear & Fig Bread
450g. of strong white bread flour (plus a little extra for kneading)
15g. of dried active yeast
2 tbsp. of agave syrup
300ml. of cold water
200g. of dried figs, roughly chopped
1 small pear, pealed and chopped
200ml. of cranberry juice
1tsp. of sugar
2 tsp. of ground cloves
The Baking Bit…
1. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well. Add a little water to the yeast and make a paste. Add the yeast into the well along with the syrup, followed by the rest of the water. Using your hands knead everything together until you have formed a ball shape.
2. Sprinkle a little extra flour on to your surface, and again using your hands knead the dough for 10 minutes. Place a little olive oil into your bowl, add the dough into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour.
3. Meanwhile add the figs, pear, sugar and ground cloves into a sauce pan and cover with the cranberry juice. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the juice from the fruit mixture and leave the fruit mixture to cool.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a floured surface and stretch the dough out to create a large flat piece of dough. Add the fruit mixture into the middle of the dough and knead everything together. This may get messy and sticky! Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave for a further hour.
5. Finally, pre heat the oven to 180C. Remove the dough and roll it into a nice ball shape again in flour on your work surface. Place the dough on to a baking tray and using a pastry brush cover with a milk and honey wash and slash three lines across the dough using a knife. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and leave to cool before slicing. Enjoy!