18 Jul 2016 |
Fika – the culture of taking a break over a warm drink with something sweet – is popular in Nordic countries. Although the word itself comes from Sweden, you’ll find Scandinavians pausing to take coffee and cake all the way from Denmark’s Bilund to Norway’s Kirkenes. Commonly fika is taken after lunch, though it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Most importantly, it’s about switching off for at least 15 minutes and savouring a steaming cup and its accompaniment. On a cold winter’s morning, if peckish, there is nothing better.
Given that almost all fika items are considered a treat, they tend to be high in sugar and butter content! In Nordic Light Simon Bajada experimented with creating a range of more ‘guilt-free’ savoury and sweet options for complementing your coffee break. We are huge fans of this Fig and Fennel Pull-Apart Bread!
FIG & FENNEL PULL-APART BREAD
MAKES 1 X 800 G ( 1 L B 1 2 O Z ) LOAF
PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINUTES PLUS RISING
COOKING TIME: 40 MINUTES
—— 125 g (41/2 oz/ 1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
—— 1 large egg, at room temperature
—— 3 tablespoons olive oil
—— 2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
—— 225 g (8 oz/11/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
—— 225 g (8 oz/11/2 cups) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
—— 1 tablespoon raw sugar
—— 1/2 teaspoon salt
—— 185 g (61/2 oz/1 cup) soft dried figs, chopped
—— 30 g (1 oz) butter, melted
—— 100 g (31/2 oz) fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
—— 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
—— 1 teaspoon sea salt
—— 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Mix the yoghurt, egg and olive oil together in a bowl with 170 ml (6 fl oz/ 2/3 cup) of water until well combined. Stir in the instant yeast to dissolve.
Gradually add the flours, sugar and salt and mix everything together to form an elastic dough, then tip onto a clean floured work surface and knead for 2–3 minutes until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and gently tossing together.
Once risen, transfer the dough to the work surface and form into a snake-shaped log about 60 cm (24 in) long. Fold the log back on itself to create a ‘U’ shape with a trough running down the middle of the dough.
Line the trough with the filling ingredients then, holding the end of the dough with two ends, twist the opposite end clockwise three times on itself. Filling will go everywhere, but you can stuff it back in the right places once you have your basic twisted shape. Place the shaped loaf in a greased and floured 25 cm x 12 cm (10 in x 41/2 in) loaf tin and set aside to rise for another 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Once risen, transfer the loaf tin to the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until the loaf is lightly golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out and serve warm, spread with butter and accompanied by a pot of coffee.
This is an edited extract from Nordic Light by Simon Bajada, to read more about this book click here.