Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fresh figs and Vanilla

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about the fabulous fig tree on the walk way by my house. It actually is planted in a property but hangs over the walk way. My mum was horrified that I would pick someone else’s figs (despite my legal argument that I could actually get the council to cut off the overhang so, I am doing them a favour!). So she made me go and ask the owners if I could pick them. Turns out the old lady who lived there died before Christmas and her grandson said I could pick them!! So, I have been merrily picking figs each night.

I got about 12 last night and they really do need to be eaten pretty quickly after picking. In the weekend I may make some chutney with them, but last night I had some friends come over, so I decided to make these little fig syrup cakes. As well as the excitement of fresh figs, I also had another exciting thing happen last week – the people from Heilala vanilla sent me a jar of vanilla paste, as they had seen that I had mentioned their vanilla on my blog. I was so excited!!!!! It is exciting enough that people read my blog, but doubly so that other people may be getting business from it!

I used the vanilla paste in the syrup for the cakes. The vanilla paste is fantastic quality – I have only used one other brand of vanilla paste before (an Australian brand), but this was far superior.

The recipe is one that I got when I went to the Epicurean cook school before it closed down. The cake mixture is lovely and light and I think even if you didn’t like figs you would like these cakes. The addition of the verjuice in the syrup gives a slightly tangy flavour. If you didn’t have fresh figs, apricots, plums, peaches etc would work just as well. I don’t think I would use dried figs as they are as different to a fresh fig as a tomato is to a potato!!!!

These cakes are great – making mini ones means you can have a couple without feeling guilty. I only made 2/3 of the recipe and it made 24 small cakes

Mini Fig & Vanilla Syrup Cakes

3 eggs, separated
100g castor sugar
fine zest of 2 oranges
75g plain flour
75g self raising flour
¼ tsp cardamom
100ml olive oil
75ml plain yoghurt
9 fresh figs cut into ¼ or 1/8s depending on size
½ c ground almonds (I used ground macadamia nuts)

· Beat together eggs, sugar and zest, then add flours, cardamom, oil and yoghurt, folding to combine
· Spoon into oiled mini muffin tins and top with a fig piece. Sprinkle over ground almonds
· Bake at 180c for about 15 minutes
· Spoon over following cooled syrup with a teaspoon

¼ c verjuice
1 tsp vanilla paste
juice of 2 oranges
about 2 tbsp sugar – or to taste
½ tsp rose geranium water (I had this in the cupboard!! But you could leave it out)

· place first 4 ingredients in a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add geranium water and set aside to cool


Cakelaw said...

Wow, what I'd do to have a free source of fresh figs! These little cakes sure look good.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tammy - I'm pretty sure I met the owner (one of them) of the Vanilla plantation in Vava'u in Tonga last year - we discussed the trials and tribulations of owning/running businesses in the tropics, and while I didn't buy any of his vanilla (we visited the plantation after he had returned to NZ)I did buy some from the market in the main town.....I have mine soaking in flagons of brandy turning into essence! The cakes look delish by the way, my new fig trees are yet to bear edible fruit, and I have to say they are looking a bit on the dry side - but my quinces are nearly ready!!!
TTFN - Rebel without a Kitchen