This tender quick bread comes together with a flourish for a breakfast treat or a welcome sweet at any time of day. Dried figs make a decorative topping, and cornmeal lends a nice crunch.

A leisurely holiday-weekend breakfast is a nice way to extend the holiday, especially if you have a houseful of out-of-town guests. You can bake a quick bread the night before, making this a low stress way to entertain. Over the recent holiday weekend, I baked the following quick breads and muffins: Parsnip, Pear and Fig, Bread; Pumpkin Bread; and the Parsnip, Pear and Fig Mini Muffins many, many times (I’m not kidding!) for family and friends. My husband is now addicted and loves to take a few slices of either bread, or mini muffins to work as his mid-afternoon snack. I hope you like them!

I started by making Pumpkin Bread, but as I received several comments and questions about how to use the tasty Parsnip, Pear and Fig Purée recipe I recently posted, I thought I’d bake a few possibilities and share:

  • Below is a recipe for a quick bread using the Parsnip, Pear, and Fig Purée instead of using a pumpkin purée for Pumpkin Bread.
  • I also used the purée in my Mini Banana Apple Bran Muffins, substituting the Apple Purée for the Parsnip, Pear and Fig Purée. I also tried it without banana substituting the apple purée and mashed banana for the Parsnip, Pear, and Fig Purée. Yum for both! Instead of topping each muffin with a slice of banana, I used a slice or dried fig.
  • It’s delicious spread on toast
  • Replace jelly with it in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure the Parsnip, Pear and Fig Purée would also be delicious as a substitute for pumpkin in my recipe for Pumpkin Bars. If any of you try that before me, I’d love to know!

Parsnip, Pear and Fig Bread
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white or yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup Parsnip, Pear and Fig Purée
1 cup raisins (optional)
1-2 dried figs, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and parsnip, pear, and fig purée. Beat with a large whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the raisins, if using. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing just until blended after each addition. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top. Shingle fig slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down the center to ensure even rise.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. If the top starts to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil for the last few minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

Martine’s Notes
I used an 8.5-inch by 4.5-inch pan and had to cover the bread with aluminum foil the last few minutes of baking. The first time I followed the recipe above, I made it as Pumpkin Bread, using pumpkin purée instead of the Parsnip, Pear and Fig Purée. I also added raisins and topped it with about ¼ cup sunflower seeds. Although the result was tasty, I thought it was a little too sweet for me and my family. So the next time I reduced the sugar.

When I made the Parsnip, Pear and Fig Bread, I reduced the granulated sugar to ½ cup and the brown sugar to ¼ cup. I did not add raisins. The reduction of sugar was perfect.

When using cornmeal, if you don’t want too much of a crunch, be sure to use finely ground cornmeal. The first time I prepared this recipe I used a cornmeal that was relatively fine. The second time, I wasn’t paying attention to which grain (cornmeal) I grabbed and I ended up adding a more coarsely ground cornmeal. It was still edible and we all still loved the flavor, but thought it was a bit too much crunch for us. Lesson learned and now it’s been passed on to you, mind the grind of your cornmeal!

Recipe adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Cookbook recipe for Pumpkin Bread.

Bon Appétit,

13 thoughts on “Parsnip, Pear, and Fig Bread

  1. THIS is a gorgeous bread. I love the figs on top: you are aware of exactly what you are about to eat – delicious figs (which are, by the way, probably my favorite food – not that I could really choose a favorite food). 🙂 You know, this beautiful recipe brings to mind Turkish fig jam, which I buy at a specialty store. Lots of fig flavor. Yes, I am sure your pureé is delicious on a bread – or in this case, in the bread. I also see that you have taken on this month’s ingredient challenge (if if by happenstance). Have a great night, Martine! We have some fresh yeasted oatmeal bread in the oven now, and the smell is intoxicating – similar to this bread, I am sure. Warmly, Shanna

    1. Hi Shanna, thank you! I decided to put the sliced figs on top at the last minute because I suspected it might look interesting. I’m glad I followed instinct. I actually used Turkish figs and the jam you speak of sounds delightful! does your intoxicating oatmeal bread. Mmmm!

      What is the ingredient challenge?

      1. That really was a great idea, Martine – it makes the bread so lovely and reads like a “sign.” I love Turkish or Tema figs – they are my favorite. I will take a picture of the jam the next time I pick it up from World Market and send it your way. The ingredient challenge for December:
        Warm regards,
        Shanna xx

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