Honey-roasted fig bread

“Luxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.” — Anaïs Nin

Around this time three days ago I was sitting at San Francisco airport waiting for my flight back to Detroit. I had spent the greater part of the week with family — my parents, sister, and grandma mostly — to visit my grandpa who has been in the hospital with pneumonia for the past month.

Many afternoons we sat by his side to reminisce, joke about life’s little things and of course, talk about food. While his appetite isn’t where it used to be, he requested nibbles of dim sum (specifically chicken feet) and Chinese noodle soup.

He has good days and he has bad days.

Life is such a precious thing isn’t it? In the end it doesn’t matter how many techie gadgets you’ve collected or however distant places you’ve traveled. Even the glossiest of high-paid jobs means nothing because in the end, really, it all comes down to how many lives you’ve touched over the years. And my grandpa, despite his extensive list of skill-sets and accolades in life (can you say baker-carpenter-storekeeper-piñatamaker-painter-mambodancer-everythingunderthesun) has brightened the days of countless persons. He is so loved by many.

I enjoy baking for one reason and one reason only: It brings me closer to grandpa.

The man can mix flour, water and salt together and it would be the most delicious thing you’d ever had.

A few weeks ago I tried my hand at fig bread. After experimenting with figs in the savory pizza world I sought a more delicate, tea-time sort of vehicle for the tender figs.

I couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out. First, I roasted the figs in honey and then mashed them together until they were soft and mushy (think: mashed bananas for banana bread). Then, I added lots of brown sugar, vanilla, and spiced rum. Yes, you heard me right. Spiced rum.

After I poured it into a bread pan I dotted the top with sliced figs, stems and all. As pretty as they were, I couldn’t be persuaded to pluck them off and I didn’t mind having a chew of them when I took a bite. But if you don’t like having inedible objects in your vittles please feel free to abstain and pluck away. Or, just eat them anyway. (giggle)

Honey-roasted fig bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 quart figs, most cut in half lengthwise, reserving 2-3 figs for topping
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup melted butter + extra for buttering loaf pan
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar + extra for topping
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 shot spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lay the halved figs over the top and douse with honey. Mix with your fingers to combine. Roast for 15 minutes. Let cool then place in a large bowl and mash with spiced rum and let sit for 5 minutes before mixing with melted butter, brown and white sugars, egg, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Then slowly add the flour; mix. Put the mixture into a buttered and floured loaf pan, add sliced figs over top and sprinkle with sugar and lower temperature to 350 degrees. Let bake for 45 min to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
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  • IslandvittlesOctober 26, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    I can’t decide which one your pics is my favourite — the first or the last — the foodie in me loves that top pic of those sweet, glorious figs baked in to the crust, but the daughter and granddaughter in me loves the one of you and your grandpa even more!  My best wishes to him and your whole fam.  TheresaReplyCancel

  • LemonsandanchoviesOctober 26, 2011 - 2:12 pm

    Stephanie, I am in love with this gorgeous fig bread (I’ll trade for a galette. 🙂 )  But I am even more happy to  read about your relationship with your grandfather.  Will be sending healing thoughts his way.  🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lillian H.October 26, 2011 - 11:15 pm

    beautiful bread, beautiful post.  your relationship with your grandfather touches my heart, steph – he would be so proud of this heavenly bread! =) praying he feels better soon. ReplyCancel

  • fatpiginthemarketOctober 28, 2011 - 12:29 pm

    Hi..I love the way the top of this bread looks. I think you did your grandpa justice with the spiced rum, figs and bread combo. Seems fitting for a man who can bake, mambo, make pinatas and build stuff. I’m sending you my best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • NicoleDNovember 2, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    Your grandpa sounds like a renaissance man! Sorry to hear he’s sick. The fig bread sounds (and looks!) really delicious!ReplyCancel

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