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
- ½ cup butter softened
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- 2 TB orange juice
- 2 TB freshly grated orange peel
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ 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.