Fig season is short but wonderful here in Albania. When figs are in season they are everywhere and in addition to eating them as is, I try to incorporate them into as dishes as possible. There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe fig but a perfect piece of fruit can quickly turn to an over ripe one overnight. When this happens I turn the figs into fig bread.
Over the years I’ve adapted and tweaked this recipe numerous times and think this version is “the one”. Brown sugar adds both depth and sweetness to the cake and complements the richness of the figs. The alcohol from the sherry cooks off during baking but the distinct flavor remains as a nice surprise to unsuspecting diners. The bread freezes beautifully and will keep for several months; simply allow it to cool completely then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. I take it out of the freezer the day before I am ready to eat it and allow it to come to room temperature while sitting on the kitchen counter. You can pop it in the oven to heat it up before serving it or eat it as is. Either way this treat extends the fig season well into the fall.
SHERRY FIG BREAD
1 1/2 cups fresh figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine the figs and sherry in a small bowl; let stand for at least 15 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat the white sugar, brown sugar, oil and eggs on high-speed until light and frothy.
Add in the flour mixture and beat on low-speed until combined.
Gently stir in the figs and sherry.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert the bread onto a rack.