This wonderful fall recipe was crafted by cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis, who is well known for teaching cooking classes in her home in Normandy…“On Rue Tatin.” Its dense texture is perfect for serving with an aperitif before your guests sit down for dinner.
Yields 1 loaf; 10-12 appetizer servings or 4 smaller loaves
1 ½ cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 mounded teaspoon fine sea salt
6 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
10 dried figs (about 8 ounces), coarsely chopped
A scant 2 cups Gruyere cheese, finely grated
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
Mounded ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter an 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ loaf pan, or 4 small loaf pans. Line with buttered parchment paper, dust lightly with flour.
Sift the dry ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper.
In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until they are combined, then slowly whisk in the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter until it is thoroughly blended, then fold in the figs, cheese, hazelnuts and pepper, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans and rap it sharply on a work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake in the center of the oven until the top of the bread is golden, and a sharp knife stuck in the center comes out clean.(40 to 45 minutes for a single loaf, 30 to 35 minutes for smaller loaves.)
Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out onto a wire cooling rack. After about 5 minutes, peel off the parchment paper. Let cool and serve.
[Chef’s Note: To serve this bread as an aperitif, use the smaller loaf pan for baking.]
Copyright 2003 Susan Herrmann Loomis. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Recipe tested by Donna Zotter
Photo by Kelly Cline