Savory Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bread With Figs and Hazelnuts

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This is an adaptation of a bread in Susan Loomis’s ‘Cooking on Rue Tatin.’ The slightly spicy bread makes a nice hors d’oeuvre, cut in triangles and served with wine.

Ingrediends:

– 60 grams (1/2 cup) hazelnuts
– 125 grams (approximately 1 cup) whole wheat flour
– 80 grams (approximately 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unbleached all-purpose flour
– 12 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
– 15 grams (1 tablespoon) sugar
– 8 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
– 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) ground black pepper
– 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fennel seeds, crushed or coarsely ground in a spice mill
– 4 eggs
– 100 grams (1/2 cup) Fitia extra virgin olive oil
– 75 grams (1/4 cup) milk
– 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped orange zest (optional)
– 210 grams (7 ounces) dried figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 20 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and pour the hazelnuts onto a clean dishtowel. Fold over the dishtowel and rub the hazelnuts to loosen and remove the skins. Allow to cool completely.

2. Place the skinned hazelnuts in a pastry bag or plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin, just to break the nuts in half. Set aside. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Oil or butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 (or 8 x 4)-inch bread pan. Line with parchment, oil or butter the parchment, and dust lightly with flour.

3. Sift together the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir in the fennel seeds.

4. In a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the olive oil and the milk. Add the optional orange zest. Whisk in the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fold in the hazelnuts and chopped figs.

5. Scrape the batter into the bread pan. Place in the oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a rack. Remove the parchment after 5 minutes and allow to cool completely. To serve, cut in thin slices and cut the slices in half on the diagonal, or into quarters.

Yield: One 8-inch loaf, about 20 slices

Advance preparation: This will keep for a couple of days if well wrapped and freezes well.

Nutritional information per slice: 145 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 38 milligrams cholesterol; 16 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 232 milligrams sodium; 3 grams protein

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