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Fig and Almond Brioche Loaf
Posted by Gill Bland Friday, 5th July 2013
This month's recipe is inspired by ingredients that found their way to me by two particularly nice methods. Firstly the fig filling is from the same recipe as an almond and fig cake: which are available at cheese counters in delicatessens. The recipe was sent to me by my 'Foodie Penpal' for the month...
'Foodie Penpals' is a free internet-based initiative that pairs up food lovers around the world. Each month you send a box of goodies (worth around £10 incl. postage) to someone and you receive a box from someone else. Usually there will be a letter in the parcel telling you a bit about the items and the person who sent them. It's lovely waiting for the box to arrive every month, discovering new things and 'meeting' new people as a result. It's also a fun excuse to buy interesting local items to send onwards. Imagine one of those round robin letters, only more tasty.
There is a mature Caerphilly cheese that you can see in the picture, which I made the brioche to compliment, it was a gift from some friends visiting from Cardiff. They have an excellent deli just near them in Pontyclun and were kind enough to share some of its Welsh bounty with us.
The tang of the Caerphilly and its slight musky undertones work well against the sweet fig and buttery dough. This would make for a particularly interesting and celebratory picnic offering. However, you could just as easily eat this brioche toasted for breakfast or make it into a pudding.
If you want to see what I receive and what I send each month for Foodie Penpals, or perhaps you'd like to know how to make tennis ball cake-pops to celebrate Wimbledon, it's all over at Tales of Pigling Bland.
Fig and Almond Brioche Loaf
- 1x 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 225g "00" flour or strong white flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 20g butter
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 110g dried figs or a compacted fig cake from the cheese counter
- Large handful of flaked almonds, toasted
- 1 egg, beaten
- Put the flour into a large, preferably cold bowl.
- Add the yeast to one side and the salt, sugar, butter and eggs to the other and mix together. It'll be very sticky - don't panic.
- Knead using the dough hook on your electric mixer or hand mixer for about 5 minutes until smooth and silky. You can do this by hand if you don't have a dough hook, but it stops the mixture getting too warm and makes it much easier to work with.
- Leave to rise in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.
- After 1-1 ½ hours it should have doubled in size.
- Knock it back (this will be very easy) and place the dough into a greased loaf tin.
- Press pieces of dried fig, or slices of the fig cake into the dough.
- Leave to rise for another hour.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until it is going golden, BUT just before the end of the baking time, take it out, quickly brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and a little caster sugar and then pop it back in to finish off for a couple more minutes.