Is it really almost the end of summer already? Wow. I suppose that is what happens when life is full of exciting things. Such as having a baby and experiencing parenthood for the first time. And transitioning to a new role at work. And traveling to spend time with family. My summer was a whirlwind, and while it was wonderful, I am a little relieved that fall is approaching. The fall season seems to bring stability and calm that I find comforting.
It is fig season in Southern California, and our tree is bearing lots of beautiful fruit. Unlike my husband who grew up eating fresh figs, my first taste of them came when we got married and moved into our current home. The previous resident of the house planted a fig tree that is still going strong. All it needs is a good pruning once a year, and it provides us with a few months of great fruit. I enjoy eating fresh figs off the tree once in a while, but I prefer them cooked or baked with other ingredients.
This week I found an intriguing fig bread recipe (thanks, Jess!) that includes black tea and star anise. It was one of the most delicious quick breads I have ever had. The texture was moist with crunchy edges, and the flavor was sweet and spicy, with the figs perfectly enhanced by the black tea and star anise. I doubled the recipe to make two loaves, which we gobbled up within a few days. Great with morning coffee on these last days of summer!
Black Tea Fig Bread (adapted from Jess's Many Mini Adventures in Food and Farming)
1 cup figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup English Breakfast tea, brewed double strength
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 sections star anise, ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine figs and tea; let stand for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat together sugar, oil and eggs. Add flour, spices, baking soda and salt, and mix until just combined. Drain tea from figs, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid. Gently stir in figs and 1/4 cup tea into mixture. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Makes one loaf.