Garden Fresh Fig Coffee Cake

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I never dreamed that I would ever be able to grow fresh figs until this move to southeast Pennsylvania. The climate here is warmer and the growing season longer. With a little winter protection my fig trees have thrived. As grocery produce goes they are a pricey commodity, so it’s a great example of why tending a small backyard garden is worth it. Here we are on the edge of November and these fresh figs are ripening fast and furious.

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Once picked figs don’t last long. They are quite perishable. We love them sliced and caramelized in butter with goat cheese and balsamic glaze, but we can only eat so many that way. Simmering a large pot of figs with honey and orange yielded two nice jars of jam. Still so many figs, so I baked a fresh fig cake recipe that I present today.

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This is a dense fruit cake filled with toasted pecans, chopped dates, dried cranberries and the fresh figs. It’s flavored with cardamom, citrus zest and a little orange liqueur. It is a moist cake that is delicious for breakfast topped with plain Greek yogurt or can be served as an elegant after dinner dessert topped with whipped cream.

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Garden Fresh Fig Cake

1 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup pitted dates, quartered

2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups canola

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

3 eggs

1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

 

12 ripe figs, quartered

Heat oven to 350F. Spray a coffee cake pan with no-stick baking spray. In small bowl, toss cranberries, dates and orange liqueur or juice; reserve. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil and orange zest on high speed for 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour mixture blending just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in pecans and reserved dried fruit mixture. Spread half the batter evenly over bottom of pan. Evenly space half the figs on the batter. Spread remaining batter over figs. Top with remaining figs. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate and then invert again on to a cooling rack. I prefer the fig side up.

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I prefer to flip this over and serve it fig side up

 

Are You Waffling?

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Today is one of those days of indecision. It happens from time to time. Soooo many recipes soooo little time. I frequently change my mind, but hedge my bets that you’d prefer two recipes brought to the table instead of one. Having options is a good thing! Both recipes are a bit twisted and are brought to you by a tasty gift sent from my friend, Maryann.

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As a side note, Maryann is one of the dear friends and colleagues I miss most since leaving my job at The Taft School in Connecticut. As a physical therapist and director of the athletic training room Maryann and I worked closely together caring for injured athletes. Smart as a whip, selfless and caring she did whatever it took to get the students well and safely back in the game. Mutual respect and our love for the kids we cared for made us fast friends on and off the field. William adored her.

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Maryann and her husband, Kennie, winter in Arizona. When they came across Queen Creek Olive Mill luckily she was missing me, too. ❤ She sent me a gift box of liquid gold. Pesticide free and non-GMO fruits like blood oranges, meyer lemons and Mexican limes are cold pressed with hand-picked fresh olives to create the most flavorful and aromatic oils I have ever had the pleasure to bake with. Perfect for savory dishes, as well, the oils impart a fresh fruity flavor without any bitterness. These oils are now pantry staples.

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First up are these waffles. Made with ricotta cheese and buttermilk they bake up fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside with a twist of blood orange flavor.

Blood Orange Ricotta Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese

1 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.In a small bowl, mix sugar and orange zest until the zest is coated in sugar. Add the orange sugar to the bowl with the dry ingredients. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla, ricotta, and buttermilk. Whisk until combined well. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t overmix. It’s ok if a few lumps remain. Heat waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Drop batter into the waffle iron; cook until golden brown.  Serve immediately.  These waffles can also be individually wrapped and frozen.  They’re great heated up in the toaster directly from the freezer.

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You can thank this photo on IG for this banana bread recipe. Too many requests for the actual recipe, so thought it best to share it here. What’s the sign of a perfectly baked quick bread? It’s that crack down the center! Moist on the inside with a bit of crunch on top its a flavor bomb of banana, lime and a touch of ginger. Don’t like ginger or almonds? Use any warm spice or nuts you prefer. No waffling!

Banana Bread with a Lime Twist

2 cups all purpose flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger (or if you prefer, cinnamon)

2 eggs

2/3-cup sugar

¼ cup sour cream

½ cup Mexican lime olive oil*

2 large over-ripe bananas, peeled and smashed

1/3-cup chopped or sliced nuts of your choice

2 teaspoons turbinado or demera sugar

Heat oven 375F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or grease and dust with flour). In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger; set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream, oil and banana; set aside. Using a rubber spatula, stir wet ingredients into flour mixture until blended and dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with nuts and then sugar. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. There should be the classic quick bread crack down the center. Transfer loaf to wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

*½ cup light olive oil plus the juice and zest of ½ lime can be substituted

Note: if you prefer your quick breads sweeter up the sugar to 1 cup

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Linzer Tart Scones

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Tender and crumbly scones are hands down one of my favorite treats to bake. I also love a traditional linzer tart cookie with its sweet jam filling and nutty almond crunch. Let’s combine the two and while we are at it make them sugar-free. Perfect with a warm beverage these cinnamon laced triangles with a touch of jam are simply the best. Linzer tart scones are actually a remix of a recipe I have been baking for nearly 30 years with an aim to make them healthier. Small changes like eliminating sugar make a big difference in improved health over time. Selected for the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge here is what I did.

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Sugar-free with a big boost of protein from almonds and almond flour these scones get their sweetness from all natural Fructevia. Fructevia looks just like granulated sugar, but with twice the sweetness a little goes a long way. Did you notice how brown these scones are? That’s because fructevia bakes up just like sugar with all the golden goodness. Not only that these scones are tender and flaky with lovely crunchy, crumbly almond bits. What’s not to love about a healthy-full of flavor-jam topped scone? Tender, sweet, flaky, nutty….sounds a lot like me!

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While I loved them warm from the oven the truth is the flavors are even more fantastic the next day. Like a linzer tart the cinnamon, almonds and zest meld together and the jam just sinks into the dough. Unlike other sugar-free sweeteners the Fructeviva leaves no aftertaste. It’s super clean and a total healthy win. Even my brother, the doctor, approves. He explained that using products like Fructevia helps to reduce inflammatory processes on the body.

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Here is the quick drill on mixing up a simple batch of scones. Whisk the dry ingredients together; cut in the butter until crumbly. Then whisk the wet ingredients together.

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Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet in. Blend the two just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Knead the dough 3 or 4 times and pat it into a circle right on the baking sheet. Edge with the almonds and fill a small indent with your favorite sugar-free jam. Raspberry is traditional, but I used blackberry here.

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Linzer Tart Scones

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

½ cup almond flour

1 ½ tablespoons Fructevia

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. grated orange zest

¼ cup cold, unsalted butter

2/3 cup half-and-half

1 egg

2 to 3 teaspoons no sugar added jam or whole fruit preserves

Heat oven to 400ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine flours, fructevia, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and zest; mix well. Using fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, combine half-and-half and egg; blend well. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Pat or roll dough into 8” circle on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle edge with almonds. Cut into 8 wedges; do not separate. Make an indentation in each scone with tip of your index finger; fill with ¼ teaspoon of jam. Bake 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden. Cut through scones. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 210  
Total Fat 12.4g 16%
Saturated Fat 5.5g 28%
Trans Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 43mg 16%
Sodium 206mg 9%
Potassium 271mg 6%
Total Carb 21.1g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2.3g 8%
Sugars 0.6g  
Protein 5.5g  
Vitamin A 9% · Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 10% · Iron 8%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Thanks Steviva for sharing your products with me. Quite a learning opportunity to know that all natural Fructevia bakes up just like sugar, tastes delicious and will lead me to better health.

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