September 4, 2008

Fig and Almond Cake

My husband offered to help our family friend plant some fruit trees in his vacant lot this past Labor Day weekend. The kids and I tagged along and we had a day camping/picnic of sorts there. We brought stuff to grill for lunch: carne asada and chicken, hotdogs and home-grown eggplants to make dip.

The boys enjoyed being there. They had fun chasing the chickens that hang around there, walking through the little creek (it was dried up at this time) and following the ant trails. It was a hot day so the kids then started running through the sprinklers.

While my husband got busy planting trees, I got busy picking figs. The property has a full-grown Black Mission fig tree and it was full of fruit! I think I might have picked too many so decided to make a dessert with them.
I adapted this recipe from Martha. The recipe asked to use four 3 3/4-inch or one 8-inch tart pans which I didn't have (I only have a 10-inch tart pan) so decided to use my 6-inch springform pan which turned out okay. I didn't have any hazelnuts at hand so used almonds which Martha says is okay to substitute. I also didn't have brandy so just omitted that. Since I used a smaller pan, the batter came up twice as high than if I used a tart pan so I ended up baking it 10 minutes longer.

The cake turned out really good; it was dense but moist at the same time. The figs caramelized which made them so much sweeter. And my 6-year old ate it - he does not like trying new food, figs is one of them. My husband did say it will probably be even better with the brandy. This is something I will make again. I will probably use a tart pan, to make it look more sophisticated.

Fig and Almond Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart

8 fresh figs, preferably Black Mission
1 1/2 cups skinned (6 ounces) blanched almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Non stick vegetable-oil spray


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 6 figs into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside in a bowl.

In a food processor, process nuts until medium fine. Sift together flour and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar; add to nuts; pulse to combine. Add egg, egg white, butter, pepper, and zest. Process to combine, about 10 seconds. Add batter to figs, and mix together.

Spray a 6-inch springform pan with vegetable-oil spray. Pour batter and even top. Cut remaining 2 figs lengthwise into six slices each and arrange over the cake batter. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until cake is set and golden brown, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Remove cake from springform pan, sprinkle with remaining sugar, and serve.

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