I struck luck when I found this very simple recipe for “Miniature Fig Loaves.” They taste delicious with the unique flavor of figs and the crunchy texture of tiny fig seeds. Two “secret ingredients” make this a very easy, fail-proof recipe. If you live in Louisiana, then you may be lucky enough to have a fig tree growing in your backyard. These trees grow to be about 10 feet tall and they become very wide and bushy. For a month or two in the summer, these small trees produce an explosion of figs. Just reach, pick and pop the figs in your mouth for natural candy. The sticky and sweet flavor of the figs can’t be beat.
Fresh Figs or Fig Preserves
Unfortunately, I can name only one person who has a fig tree growing in their yard. Plus, the Louisiana fresh fig season is past. So, that leaves us reaching for either dried figs or fig preserves to make the recipe. Both work well. I used fig preserves.
However, don’t give up on fresh figs. Several weeks ago in late September, while shopping at Whole Foods Grocery, I saw a table display of three varieties of fresh figs for sell. I guess the fig season is later in the year for other parts of the country than Louisiana.
Growing Fig Trees
Yes, fig trees grow in Louisiana as well as Texas. They just need lots of sunlight and well drained soil. We had a fig tree growing in our backyard for many years and enjoyed picking lots of ripe figs. Eventually the tree grew too tall for us to reach the figs as figs grow on the tippy ends of the branches and new growth! The birds were happy and enjoyed eating all the figs. Slowly, that area became too shady and wet; our precious tree succumbed to some sort of rot. Here is my mother-in-law’s fig tree in Texas in August. The tree is about four or five years old and is just beginning to produce figs. Next year, I think my mother-in-law will have more figs than she can eat! I replanted another fig tree in a raised bed in our backyard, but will have to wait several years for it to produce figs.
Fig Bread Recipe and “Secret Ingredients”
My fig bread is adapted from a friend’s recipe. Marie always comes up with excellent ideas and her recipe is actually for “Banana Nut Bread.” That bread was delicious. I decided to substitute figs for bananas, since figs — when cooked and mashed — have a similar consistency.
What makes this recipe unique is two ingredients. First, the recipe uses Bisquick rather than flour, baking powder and salt. No need to measure out and sift all these ingredients. So simple. Secondly, cream cheese is used as the shortening rather than butter, margarine or oil. This is a fail-proof recipe.
About ‘Quick Breads”
As the name, “Bisquick,” implies, this recipe falls into the category of “quick breads.” The leavening in the bread is baking powder and not yeast. So this “bread” is much simpler and faster to mix up than yeast bread. The result is a very dense, crumbly and sweet bread. There is a fine demarcation between quick bread and cake. I am calling this “bread” because it is much denser than a cake — although it is very sweet — and baked in a loaf pan. It makes a great breakfast or snack.
Making the recipe
To make the recipe, first let the cream cheese soften on the kitchen counter for an hour or two. Then it is much easier beat the softened cream cheese in a electric mixer until creamy and smooth. After beating the cream cheese in the electric mixer, blend in the eggs and sugar. Next, add the fig preserves and cinnamon. Last, blend in the Bisquick.
Pour the batter into three min-loaf pans which are lined with parchment paper and well-oiled. Bake in oven at 325 degrees. These are dense loaves, they don’t “rise” alot in the pans.
Let cool before removing the baked loaves from the pans. The parchment paper makes this easy — simply lift and remove. Then peel away the parchment paper from the bread. The miniature bread loaves freeze well; just remove them from the freezer and slice off a piece or two for a snack. Here is my first batch, made with fig preserves.
Variations using dried figs soaked in rum or fresh figs
For a variation, I made a batch using dried California figs and rehydrating them in water and a bit of rum. After boiling the dried figs on the stove for a few minutes, I let them set in the refrigerator overnight. Then I blended them up in a food processor. Yum, this made Rum Bread with a “kick.” If you have located some fresh figs, then use these — boil in water and rum, let them steep overnight and then blend in food processor.
Fig Bread is unique with the crunchy texture and delicious fig flavor. Since figs are naturally sweet, this bread is rather sweet. These loaves will make novel holiday gifts in December. Even though the fresh fig season finished several months ago, I’m enjoying the flavor of figs using fig preserves. Serve along with a banana and coffee for an easy breakfast. Next summer, I’m going to be ready to quickly pick and use fresh figs. Enjoy the recipe.
Miniature Fig Loaves
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 10 oz jar fig preserves*
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 cups Bisquick
Method and Steps:
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line three miniature loaf pans (3″ x 5-1/2″) with parchment paper. Oil paper well.
- Let cream soften at room temperature for several hours. Then blend until creamy and smooth in medium-sized bowl of electric mixer. This may take about 5 minutes on medium speed.
- Add large eggs and brown sugar and blend in.
- Next, blend in jar of fig preserves and ground cinnamon.
- On slow speed of electric mixer, blend in Bisquick, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula. Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into the loaf pans. Set pans on flat baking sheet. Bake in 325 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let set in pans for 30 minutes before removing bread from pan by lifting up on parchment paper. Peel parchment paper off of fig loaves.
- Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Loaves freeze well.
NOTE: May substitute 4-oz package of dried figs soaked overnight in 1 cup water and 1/4 cup of rum. Boil the dried figs in water/rum for several minutes. Then transfer to refrigerator-proof container and let soak overnight. Process until finely blended in food processor prior to using. This should yield about 1-1/2 cups blended figs. Use only 1 cup blended figs in recipe; reserve the remainder for another use.
Wild Goose Chase for Figs at Trader Joes
The fig season here in Louisiana is in July — so fresh, ripe figs are gone from our backyards by late September when I’m posting this recipe. Figs are perishable, you rarely find fresh figs in markets. A friend found these fresh figs at Trader Joes. That afternoon, we rushed to the grocery market to purchase a pint of figs for this recipe; but alas, the figs had been removed from the shelves. It seemed that customers complained that the figs were spoiling. The lesson learned is that the fig season doesn’t last long and that figs at markets are very perishable. When you are lucky enough to find figs at a major chain grocery that are ripe and not spoiled then that’s the moment to get out fresh fig recipes..