In the Philadelphia region, figs and grapes are the strawberry-rhubarb bedfellows of the early fall. Kate Jacoby of Vedge revisits the flavor combination every year as a complement to cheesecake, or here, in warm, moist pumpkin bread made with vegan butter and vegetable shortening. Cooking the figs down with Madeira creates a syrupy compote that contrasts perfectly with the Concords’ zingy acid. For more of Kate’s recipes, look to our vegan baking feature in our September/October issue!
Pumpkin Bread with Concord Grape Jam and Drunken Figs
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 1 cup (150 grams) whole pitted dried dates
- 1 cup (240 grams) warm water (105°F/40°C to 110°F/43°C)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 grams) vegan butter, softened
- ¼ cup (57 grams) all-vegetable shortening, softened
- 1 cup (244 grams) canned pumpkin
- Concord Grape Jam (recipe follows)
- Drunken Figs (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, soak dates in 1 cup (240 grams) warm water for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, place sugars, vegan butter, and shortening; pulse until combined. Add pumpkin, dates, and soaking water; pulse until well combined. (Some chunks of dates will remain.) Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, whisking until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely. To serve, place slices of pumpkin bread on top of a generous smear of Concord Grape Jam. Top with Drunken Figs.
Concord Grape Jam
Makes 1½ cups
- 2 cups (300 grams) Concord grapes
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120 grams) Concord grape juice
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) agar powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- In the container of a blender, purée grapes. Strain into a medium saucepan, discarding solids. Add all remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Let cool completely before serving.
Makes 2 pints
- 2 pints (300 grams) ripe or preserved figs, stemmed, quartered, and drained (if preserved)
- ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup (85 grams) agave syrup
- ¼ cup (60 grams) Madeira wine
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a medium bowl, gently toss figs with all remaining ingredients. Arrange on a baking sheet.
- Bake until figs start to caramelize, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Just like when working with regular butter, it’s important to start with softened vegan butter. This helps it incorporate more easily in the dry ingredients, preventing overmixing.