This is a wonderful and easy everyday treat “from France, where savory loaf cakes are often served with drinks before dinner,” writes Greenspan introducing the recipe she published in New York Times Cooking. She starts with soft goat’s cheese that I cannot get here, so I decided to try the recipe with feta, and it was wonderful!
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
I have only medium-small eggs –from our neighbors’ hens– so I increased the milk to 2\3 cup, and used the goat’s milk we drink with our coffee. Also, forgot to get parsley from the garden, so I omitted it –will add it next time.
Rosemary and thyme, as well as the tangerine zest give it great aroma and complement beautifully the sweetness of the figs. “If you’d like, use olives or dried tomatoes instead of figs, basil instead of parsley, lemon instead of orange,” Greenspan suggests;
she also notes that one can “experiment with other cheeses,” and this is exactly what I did.
“The loaf is pleasantly crumbly, and best enjoyed cut into thick slices,” she concludes.
4 moist, plump dried figs (such as Kalamata), cut into 1/4-inch bits
⅓ cup/20 grams finely chopped fresh parsley (optional –forgot to add it and didn’t miss it)
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 ¾ cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ -1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup/80 milliliters whole milk, lukewarm (I used goat’s milk)
⅓ cup/80 milliliters olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
4 ounces/115 grams feta cheese cut in small dice
Zest of 1 clementine or 1/2 tangerine, or small orange
Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Line with parchment paper an 8- to 9-inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, toss together the figs, parsley, if using, rosemary and thyme; keep at hand.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Working in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, then whisk in the milk, oil and honey.
Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture, and, using a sturdy spatula, stir until the dough is almost blended. You’ll still see streaks of flour, and that’s fine. Scatter the fig mixture over the dough, along with the feta cheese. Grate the zest of the clementine or tangerine over the cheese. Using as few strokes as possible, stir everything together. Once again, it might not be perfect, and, once again, that’s fine.
Scrape the dough into the pan, and use the spatula to poke the dough into the corners and to even the bumpy top. Bake for 34 to 38 minutes or until the top is golden, the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan, and, most important, a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Unmold the cake onto a rack, turn it right side up and let it cool. You can serve the cake when it’s slightly warm (it’s not so easy to cut then, but it’s delicious) or when it is at room temperature. Cut into thick slices. Wrapped well, the cake keeps well for 3-4 days, if you can stop eating it…