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