Banana-Berry Fig Bread

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Food lingo is interesting. I’m trying to learn the language of bread baking, much of which is French and therefore somewhat comprehensible to me since I took many years of French in school. Assigning names to dishes has it own peculiarities, though.

This bread, for example, contains one too many fruits (or maybe one too many syllables worth of fruit names) to include all of them in a nice-sounding title. Strawberry Banana Fig Bread just doesn’t sound right to me. How many ingredients is too many to include in a dish’s name, anyway? I would say 4. I can’t think of any name that lists more than 3 primary ingredients.
Then there’s the arrangement of those fruit names. Whenever strawberries and bananas are involved, strawberry banana forces itself into our brains.

Strawberry Banana Fig is the preferred order
Banana Strawberry Fig sounds wrong
Fig Strawberry Banana sounds very wrong

Chop the straw- off of strawberry and Banana – Berry (or even Berry-Banana) becomes acceptable.

I can’t really explain any of this. I remember just enough linguistics from school to get all dorky about it every once in a while but not enough to really give an informed explanation for what I find so fascinating.

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I promise this bread makes any naming confusion totally worth it. I was giddy with excitement at the one over-ripe banana I managed to hide from myself this week. It hung out with the other bananas on the counter (I really need a fruit bowl) until enough other ingredients presented themselves and the right recipe came along. The California figs I bought at Costco needed to go into something, asap. I’ve been keeping strawberries on hand at all times since returned to California (t’is the season!).

I’m not out to make fat-free baked goods, believe me. Any whole food is fine with me in moderation and healthy fats are definitely a must. That said, there are several ways to make a quick bread, muffin, cake, or cookie moist and delicious without copious amounts of butter or oil. Banana certainly helps, plus it adds sweetness. Applesauce is another good oil substitute. Yogurt is quite possibly my favorite. I always have a tub of some kind of plain yogurt in the fridge. This week I happen to have Trader Joe’s Plain Goat’s Milk Yogurt. YUM! It my sound weird but if you like goat cheese you must try goat’s milk yogurt. The taste is subtle and the yogurt is creamy without being overly rich. The bread I made today doesn’t taste like goat’s milk yogurt but I like knowing it’s in there.

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Banana-Berry Fig Bread

Adapted from The Daily Garnish

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana
1 cup ripe figs, quartered
1/2 cup strawberries, diced

Combine flours, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Peel the banana and mash it in a separate bowl.
Add the figs and mash them as well (they don’t have to be completely liquified – you can leave some fig hunks)
Beat the eggs into the banana-fig mixture
Add the brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir until completely combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring gently until barely mixed.
Fold in the strawberries.
Pour the batter into one large loaf pan or 4 small loaf pans (I used 2 small loaf pans and 2 tiny baking dishes from my grandmother’s kitchen)

Bake at 350 for 45 min. (small loaves) to 1 hour (large loaf) or until lightly browned on top.
Cool on a wire rack, remove from pans, slice, and devour!

3 Comments

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3 Responses to Banana-Berry Fig Bread

  1. What to name stuff is important. Banana-Berry is good. I’ll remember that. Too many items in a title and it starts to sound like a menu. Liking the goats milk yoghurt in the mix. The bread looks wonderful. One to make with my little nieces who adore bananas and berries.

  2. Sounds like a great mix of fruits–by any name! The yogurt and wheat germ are great ingredients here too.

  3. I like the name “banana berry”…banana-strawberry is a bit lengthy. They look wonderful too.

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