Grating the Parmesan on the large holes of a box grater and sprinkling it over the top of this bread adds a nice texture and helps prevent the cheese from burning; do not grate it fine or use pre-grated Parmesan. A mild, soft Asiago cheese, crumbled into ¼- to ½-inch pieces, is a nice substitute for the cheddar. The texture of the bread improves as it cools, so resist the urge to slice the loaf while it is piping hot.
Quick California Fig and Cheese Bread
- 3 ounces parmesan cheese grated on large holes or box grater
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour unbleached
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 egg
- Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 -inch loaf pan, then sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over the bottom of pan.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, black pepper, rosemary and figs together in a large bowl. Stir in the cheddar, breaking up clumps, until it is coated with flour mixture. In medium bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, melted butter, and egg, together until smooth. Gently fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not over mix). The batter will be heavy and thick.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over top. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.