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La Belle Cuisine - More Bread Recipes

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"To cook is to create. And to create an act of integrity, and faith,"


Fig and Pear Bread




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is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight..."

- M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

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Fig and Pear Bread
Bon Appétit Archives

4 cups (about) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 envelope dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 2/3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup dried currants, soaked 5 minutes in hot water, drained
6 Calimyrna figs, stemmed, each cut into eighths
3 large dried pear halves, cored and cut into  1/2-inch pieces
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup sliced almonds (about 2 ounces)

Mix 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Mix 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, cloves and nutmeg in bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment. (Dough can also be made by hand.) Add yeast mixture, milk, 1/2 cup warm water, butter and egg yolks and mix until combined. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead in enough of remaining flour to form soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Grease large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat entire surface. Cover bowl with plastic and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled, about
1 1/2 hours. Line large baking sheet with parchment. Punch dough down. Roll out on lightly floured surface to thickness of 1/4 inch. Sprinkle almonds and currants over; press gently to adhere. Fold dough in half. Roll gently to seal. Sprinkle figs and pears over. Fold dough in half. Knead dough gently to distribute fruit and nuts. Divide dough in half. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Shape each half into smooth round. Set rounds on prepared sheet, spacing evenly apart. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush glaze over loaves. Arrange sliced almonds atop loaves in wreath pattern. Bake loaves 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes more, covering tops with foil during last 15 minutes. Cool completely on racks. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Wrap in foil.)

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