I’ve worked with Kaspar’s a few times and on one occasion, he had these delicious fruit & nut crostini. They were similar to the fruit and nut crostini/crackers that you can get in grocery stores. The only difference is, Kaspar being Kaspar, the crostini were homemade. They were so damn good – I couldn’t stop snacking on them whilst working.
I really NEEDED to recreate them at home. They’re basically bread studded with fruit and nut, sliced really thin and toasted until crisp. How hard can it be?
I scoured my recipe books and managed to stumble across the German Fruit and Nut bread from “Bernard Clayton’s – Complete Book of Breads”. The plan was to bake it, freeze it, slice it really thin, toast it and store them to snack on or to eat with cheese, yum!
It didn’t really turn out that way. Why? The bread was so good, that it seemed such a waste to toast it. We ended up eating it as it was, it was delicious. It was soft, moist, tender and full of fruits and nuts that marry well.
Due to the nuts and dried fruit in this bread, it’s pretty costly – but it’s worth it for special occasions. Now I know why the store bought fruit and nut crostini are extortionately priced!
Don’t worry about making three loaves, you can eat one and wrap the other two tightly in cling-film (plastic wrap) and freeze. When needed, allow the bread to thaw at room temperature over night and you’ll be greeted with wonderfully soft bread in the morning.
PAIN ALLEMAND AUX FRUITS – GERMAN FRUIT BREAD
Makes 3 loaves
Adapted from “Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads”, by Bernhard Clayton
- 175 g (1 c) pitted dried prunes
- 190 g (1 c) non-sulfured dried apricots
- 75 g (½ c) dried figs, destalked
- 75 g (½ c) sultanas (raisins)
- 750 g (5 c) plain flour
- 1 ½ T dried active yeast
- 240 ml (1 c) hot water 50-55°C/120-130°F
- 240 ml (1 c) orange juice, warmed
- 1 t aniseed
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- ½ t ground cloves
- 1 t grated lemon zest
- 110 g (⅓ c) honey
- 2 t salt
- 60 g (4 T) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 85 g (½ c) raw hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skins rubbed off and roughly chopped
- 85 g (½ c) raw almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1. If the dried fruit is hard, soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of hot water. If it’s soft, do NOT soak.
2. Chop the dried fruit into ½ cm (1/5 inch) pieces, leave the raisins whole, dust with a little flour to keep the pieces separate.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer place 300 g (2 c) of flour and stir in the yeast, with the dough hook attachment.
4. Add the water and fruit juice and stir in the spices, zest, honey, salt and butter.
5. Beat the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and smooth
6. Add 75 g (½ c) flour at a time and mix until it forms a rough mass. Continue to knead the dough until the dough is pliable, soft and no longer sticky (around 8 minutes).
7. Cover the bowl with cling-film (plastic wrap) and place in a warm spot until double in volume, around 1 hour. Alternatively, you can place the dough into the fridge overnight for a cold rise. If doing a cold rise, remember to sit the dough at room temperature or 1-1 ½ hours before proceeding to the next step.
8. Mix all of the dried fruit and nuts together.
9. Punch down the dough, turn it out onto a floured work surface, and knead to shape a ball. Press the ball flat, then spread ⅓ of the fruit-nut mixture in the center and fold it in, kneading it to ensure an even distribution.
10. Repeat until all of the fruit/nut mixture has been used up.
11. Divide the dough into 3 even sized pieces, round into balls and rest for 10 minutes under a damp tea (kitchen) towel.
12. Prepare three 11 ½ x 21 ½ cm (4 ½ x 8 ½ inch) loaf tins (pans), by lining them with parchment paper or greasing them with oil/butter and then dusting with flour.
13. Flatten each dough ball into an oval, pinch the seams tightly together and place into a prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the other two dough balls.
14. Cover the tins (pans) with a damp tea (kitchen) towel and allow to sit in a warm spot until they have double in volume, around 1-1 ½ hours. The loaves will rise about 1 inch above the pan.
15. Preheat the oven at 180°C/350°F at least 20 minutes before baking.
16.. Bake the loaves on the middle shelf of the oven 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean. If the top is getting too dark quickly, place a piece of foil on top.
17. Allow the loaves to cool or 10-15 minutes in the pans (tins), before turning them out on a wire rack to cool fully. Slice and enjoy!