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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Another Inspired Recipe Wins

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Inspired by places I’ve been and people I love another winning recipe comes to life. Do you think the judges can tell a recipe that comes from the heart? That recipe embedded in your memories just waiting to be created given the challenge? Gloria Ferrer can.

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Cape Cod 1991

How did the judges know how much summer fun so many years ago my kids had at the Cape or how much we still enjoy a fresh lobster roll? Or this glorious lobster bite my daughter made while we vacationed in Nantucket just a few years ago? How could they know the love and the memories that inspire the food that brings my people together?

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I doubt they know anything about those wintery President’s Day long weekends we spent at the Boston science museum or the times we huddled on the Freedom Trail eating a comforting bowl of “chowdah”, but somehow it came through in my recipe.

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Bill, William & Cait ~1989

I am often asked how to create a winning recipe. The answer is always the same: “No gimmicks…just cook YOUR food.” Thank you Gloria Ferrer for choosing my recipe as a regional finalist. With every win I am honored and surprised and just feeling very lucky. I am so looking forward to cooking from my heart for those attending the event in Boston on Tuesday. Click this link if you would like to attend and watch me cook: Glorious Bites Semi-Final

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Cait & William ~1992

Jumping for joy. These two will always inspire me. I am grateful for how much they have loved ebelskivers any time of the day or night. Stuffed with lobster and corn they are the perfect package for my glorious bite and fill my heart with the most wonderful memories. Serve with Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. CHEERS!

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In case you missed it here is the recipe

Lobster Corn Chowdah Cakes (ebelskivers) with Sriracha Aioli

1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 cooked lobster tail, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh cooked or frozen corn kernals, thawed

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

1 green onion, finely chopped including the lighter green parts

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Sriracha Aioli (recipe follows)

Garnish: fresh green chives for garnish and lemon slices

In large bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, salt and pepper; set aside. In small bowl, whisk egg yolks, milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients; whisk until blended. Beat egg whites until just stiff peaks form. Fold half the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Fold in lobster, corn, celery, green onions and jalapeno. Brush the wells of an ebelskiver pan with some of remaining melted butter and place over medium heat. Fill each well to the top with batter, about 2 tablespoons per well. Cook cakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp on the bottom. Using 2 wooden skewers, turn cakes and cook on other side, about 2 or 3 minutes more. Transfer to platter; keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with Sriracha Aioli. Garnish with chives and lemon.

Sriracha Aioli

½ cup quality mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 teaspoon honey

pinch of white pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl; blend well. /]

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making memories with my future inspiration ~2017