Dried fruit and nuts, are the theme for this month’s WTSIM event, hosted by Andrew of SpittoonExtra.
I have been baking with plenty of both lately, so there might be a few more recipes popping up in future posts. But for now, here is a Spanish spiced bread, Pan de Higos; a dense dessert sweetmeat, as Frank Camorra describes it, that is somewhat akin to Italian panforte in taste and texture. I love it for it’s simplicity and appearance (that glorious colour in cross section, not quite conveyed by my amateur photography). Most importantly of course, it tastes pretty darn good!
Spicy Chocolate and Fig Bread :
(Pan de Higos; from Movida by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish)
120g dark chocolate, chopped
145g caster sugar
500g blanched almonds
250g whole dried figs
165 plain flour
4 tablespoons good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Grease and flour a 22 x 12 x 6 cm loaf tin, tipping out any excess flour. Preheat the oven to 180’C.
Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate saucepan, melt the sugar and honey over low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, combine the almonds, figs, flour, cocoa and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour the melted chocolate and the honey and sugar mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. You should end up with a stiff, slightly sticky mass. Spoon into the prepared tin and use lightly dampened hands to smooth over.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until it is dry but still yields to the touch on top. It will seem rather underdone; however the bread will continue to cook and firm up once out of the oven. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely; this will take several hours.
To serve, cut into 3mm thick slices. Pan de higos can be refrigerated, unsliced and covered, for up to 2 weeks.
[Note: I used dried Black Mission Figs and a mixture of nuts like pistachios, macadamias and almonds]