Last night I was thinking about lapsang souchong. It's not a tea I particularly like; it's more a tea I particularly dislike. Yet I have a tiny tin of it in the tea cabinet because I just know it must have a good use, that maybe if I try hard enough, I might just convince myself that I actually like it... All it would take is one recipe.
I don't know if this is the one; I can't decide. Tea-soaked figs, walnuts, honey - a little bit sweet, a little bit smokey - it sounds right, but...
Oh - butter and honey! That's the ticket...
Slightly Smokey, Slightly Sweet Fig and Walnut Bread
1 tsp. lapsang souchong tea leaves
1 Cup boiling water
3/4 Cup dried black mission figs, chopped
2 Cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tb. buttermilk powder
1/4 Cup honey
3 Tb. sweet almond oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
scant 1/2 Cup broken walnut pieces
butter or oil for greasing the pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or oil a loaf pan and set aside.
Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes. Strain out the leaves and pour the tea over the chopped figs. Steep the figs in the tea for 10 minutes; remove the figs and set aside, reserving the tea.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk powder. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat together the honey, almond oil, egg, and reserved tea. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the honey-tea mixture. Stir until just combined and fold in the reserved soaked figs and the broken walnut pieces.
Spoon the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool a bit more on the rack.
Slice and serve warm with a bit of butter and a drizzle of honey.