The last couple of days have been terribly hectic. People. Conversations. Cleaning. Stress. Oh so much stress. And the only time I find some peace is when am either stirring a pot in the kitchen or throwing ingredients together to bake something.
I'm also clearing out my refrigerator. Which is great because I keep stumbling upon ingredients that I'd stored away for "later use." Which is how I found these gorgeously juicy (dried) figs tucked in the nether corners of my giant cold storage. And a bag full of almonds too.
These beautifully plump figs were brought by the husband on a trip someplace (gosh I'm growing old) and was saving them to make some fig and honey ice cream and perhaps to make a nice posh jar of granola as well.
I did make a few changes to the recipe I found on Saveur, but only because I had only those ingredients at hand. And while this cake was lovely the day it was baked, the flavours developed beautifully the next day. This cake remained beautifully moist on day three and four as well. And frankly I have got to say that I'm going to bake this cake again tomorrow. It was that good.
Scandinavian Fig and Almond Cake
Adapted from Saveur magazine
1 cup whole dried brown figs
1 cups flour
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1 cups coarsely chopped roasted almonds
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup Cointreau
1. Slice each fig lengthwise into 4 pieces (try not to rip skin; the nicest figs will be used to garnish cake). Place in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside until figs are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 4" × 13" terrine mold with greased parchment paper. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and allspice together into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat butter with an electric mixer, then gradually add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and sour cream. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer three-fourths of the figs from poaching liquid to batter. Mix with a wooden spoon, then fold in almonds. Spoon into mold and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, remove remaining figs from poaching liquid and place in a bowl. Add sugar to poaching liquid and reduce over medium-high heat until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Stir in Cointreau, then pour over figs and set aside to macerate for at least 20 minutes.
6. Using a skewer, poke holes all the way through cake. Spoon syrup over cake and overlap remaining fig slices on top. (Store, wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for up to 1 week.)