When Expedia asked me to take part in their ‘World on a plate‘ blogger’s challenge I was given the choice between Spain and Croatia. I chose Croatia for the simple reason that I knew next to nothing about Croatian food and I like a challenge! Unlike Spanish recipes which are quite popular worldwide there aren’t that many Croatian food blogs or Pinterest boards. Luckily Expedia send me a hamper full of goodies to inspire me: truffle oil, pungent cheese, spicy Croatian ‘chorizo’, olive oil, dried fig preserve, fig and walnut cake…
Since my biggest point of reference was the Croatian Povitica bread (made unexpectedly popular in the UK thanks to the Great British Bake Off) I decided to create a Croatian-inspired recipe – fig and walnut pull apart bread – using walnuts and the fig preserve found in my hamper. If you can’t get hold of fig preserve, you can use fig jam which is more widely available or use Smitten Kitchen’s fig filling which is made with dried figs. This pull apart bread is delicious with a cup of strong coffee for breakfast or brunch… I have to admit to eating rather a lot of it while writing this post!
one small jar fig preserves or fig jam
- Make the walnut filling: put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients form a paste. Set aside until needed.
- Put the yoghurt and butter in a measuring jug and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for another 30 seconds or until the butter is mostly melted. Alternatively melt butter on the stove.
- Set aside to cool until barely warm. Add the eggs and mix together with a fork.
- Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix together briefly.
- Add the yoghurt/butter/eggs and mix on medium-low speed using the dough hook for 7-10 minutes or until it passes the windowpane test. Alternatively knead by hand for about 10-15 minutes.
- Leave the dough in the mixing bowl (or put a large, lightly greased bowl), cover and prove for 1-2 hours or until nearly double in size.
- Preheat your over to 180C/350F. Line a large loaf tin with baking paper. Spray with cake release or brush with a little melted butter.
- Tip dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knock back. Flour your rolling pin then roll the dough out into a rectangle. Trim the edges with a pastry scraper and then cut the dough into four long strips.
- Spread the first strips alternately with walnut filling and fig preserves leaving the edge empty on the fourth strip (see photo). Carefully stack the strips on top of each other using a pastry scraper to help you lift them.
- Cut the stacked strips into four sections and then place in the prepared tin facing up (see photo). Loosely cover the tin with clingfilm and let the loaf rise for 30-40 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the tin – you may have a little leftover dough.
- Brush the loaf with the egg wash and bake for 45-55 minutes, covering the roll loosely with foil after 20 minutes. Check whether the loaf is done in the middle by inserting a skewer after 30 minutes – although it may looked cooked the fillings make it slow to bake!
- Cool in the tin then lift out using the baking paper.
- Mix the icing sugar, vanilla extract and a little milk in a small bowl until you have a thick but pourable glaze. Drizzle over the loaf and top with a few walnut pieces.