We won’t be eating at home for St. Patrick’s Day this year, as we’re attending a community St. Patty’s Day Dinner. But, I couldn’t let the day go by without a little nod to the green.
This version of Irish Soda bread features half whole wheat flour (always nice), buttermilk and a wonderful combination of figs and walnuts. It has no added eggs or butter. It’s also super easy to make – one bowl, 10 minutes and a half-hour in the oven). It will make your house smell wonderful for a while, too. If figs aren’t your thing or you don’t want to make a trip to the store, using just the walnuts produces a very nice bread, as well.
This Fig and Walnut Soda Bread would be lovely with some bee/wine and cheese (try Dubliner!) or have a slice with the optional Honey Butter (recipe below) and a cup of tea.
Fig and Walnut Soda Bread with Honey Butter
Summary: You can make this recipe in a 9 x 5 loaf pan or a cast-iron skillet. Just adjust the cooking time as indicated in the recipe, accordingly.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup chopped walnut halves
- 1/2 cup diced dried figs (I used black mission figs)
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. table salt
- 2 cups buttermilk (I recommend real buttermilk for this one, instead of soured milk or powder)
- Grease a cast-iron frying pan or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, walnuts, figs, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. (The figs are sticky and tend to stick together in clumps. I like to get my hands in there and break them up. Once covered with flour, they will stay separated).
- Make a well in centre of the dry ingredients in the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Stir to form sticky ball (more of a really thick batter than a ball). Scrape into prepared baking pan, pushing the dough into the edges.
- Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. Bake in centre of 400° F. oven until golden and a tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 25-30 minutes for a skillet or, if you’re baking in a loaf pan, up to 55 minutes. If bread is browning too much, simply put a piece of tin foil over the top to stop further browning. My cast-iron frying pan is 10-inches (across the top) and takes about 25 minutes to cook. If you’re pan is larger, your bread will be thinner and it will take less time to cook.
- Let stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges. Gently loosen from the edges and slide bread onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
- This bread, like most soda breads, doesn’t stay fresh for too long. If wrapped in plastic, it will stay fresh for a couple of days or it does freeze wonderfully. I highly recommend the sweet butter spread to go with this bread!
- Optional Honey Butter Spread: This bread is not sweet but if you’d like a bit of sweet, try this lovely and simple butter spread with honey. In a small bowl and using fork, mash 1/3 cup butter, softened, with 2 Tbsp liquid honey until smooth. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 25 min | Total time: 40 min
Number of servings (yield): 8
Adapted from this Canadian Living recipe