I picture myself sitting on the veranda in Taormina, it is late afternoon and I am sipping a glass of Solerno while enjoying a slice of this orange, fig and walnut bread with mascarpone cheese. Solerno is a Sicilian liqueur made from blood oranges. Since I am actually at home today, I made this recipe with ingredients I had on hand – clementines and Grand Marnier. Being a good home cook means adapting.
Orange, Fig, & Walnut Bread
- 1 cup dried figs stem removed and chopped
- ⅓ cup orange-flavored liqueur Solerno, Grand Marnier cognac, Triple Sec
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 2 TB orange juice
- 2 TB freshly grated orange peel
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese softened
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 TB freshly grated orange zest
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 9x5-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper.. Set aside.
Place figs in small glass bowl with cognac. Add more liqueur or orange juice to be sure they are covered. Let sit for 30 minutes to reconstitute.
Beat sugar and butter at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add sour cream, orange juice, and eggs; continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low. Add orange peel, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Gently stir in figs with their liquid and walnuts by hand.
Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
To make mascarpone cheese spread, mix the cheese, powdered sugar and orange zest in a small bow. Chill.
Serve a slice of bread with the mascarpone spread on the side.