Figs and blue cheese go so well together, I love to bake fresh figs filled with blue cheese and drizzle with honey. This recipe includes these key ingredients in a pull-apart bread that can be shared among your friends and family at any holiday gathering.
1 cup of diced dried figs
¾ cup of port wine
¼ cup of honey
3 cups of King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of dry yeast
¾ cup of milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil, for greasing and drizzling purposes
To make the filling, place the figs in a small saucepan and pour the port wine and honey over them.
Cover and let them soak for at least one hour, but the longer the better. In fact, if you have time to do this the day before and let them soak overnight, that would be the best option.
After soaking, place the saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. At this point, the figs will be soft and the liquid will be the consistency of syrup.Remove the figs from the cooktop, cover them, and let them rest for about 20 minutes.Then, puree the figs and the liquid using a stick blender or food processor, until the mixture is fairly smooth. Set aside.
To make the dough, place all the dough ingredients except the blue cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Knead until a soft dough forms.
Add the blue cheese, and continue to knead the dough until it is incorporated.
Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, cover and let it rise until it doubles in size, which should take about 90 minutes.
Then, deflate the dough with the palm of your hand and roll the dough into a 10” x 18” rectangle.
Spread 2/3 of the fig filling about 2 inches below the top edge of the dough, as shown in the picture below.
Fold the top 1/3 portion of the dough over the filling, and cover that portion of dough with the remaining 1/3 of the filling.
Then, pull the bottom portion of the dough up to complete the rectangle.
Using a sharp knife, slice the dough lengthwise in half. Cut 1” wide slices across the shorter dimension. There should be 36 pieces of dough at this point.
Apply olive oil to the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round baking dish. Working from the outside of the baking dish toward the center, place the pieces of filled dough around the pan in a circle, being careful to make sure the cut side is up and the arranged pieces resemble the shape of a flower.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut a large section of plastic wrap and grease it with olive oil. Cover, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap, drizzle the bread with olive oil, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. At the 30-minute mark, check the bread to make sure it hasn’t gotten too brown too fast.
If you want to prevent further browning of the bread, tent with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes. The bread should be a nice golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
This recipe will make one 9 inch loaf.
Prep time: about 1 hour.
Total time: about 4 hours (assumes a one hour soaking time).
This post was inspired by a recipe found in the Holiday 2017 edition of “Sift” magazine.
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