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

 

Sometimes It’s Best….Part 2

Caramelized fresh figs with goat cheese and balsamic syrup

Caramelized fresh figs with goat cheese and balsamic syrup

This morning I wake with tears in my eyes. It’s the same old dream. A 4 a.m. wake-up call:

Me: When are you coming home, William? He just stares.

Me: It doesn’t make sense. What happened that night? He just stares

Me: Please tell me. He hugs me and I wake up.n1087890419_30296809_9195

The loss of a child. It will never make sense. No matter an accident, an illness, a miscarriage. A loved child gone too soon is just plain heart wrenching and tragic. Sometimes it’s best to accept what one cannot control. To find some resolution and in the words of my sweet boy, “Get over it”. But there is no getting over the loss of a child, but instead the acceptance of things that cannot be changed.

fig tree: after the rain

fig tree: after the rain

Another thing I cannot change is the fact that there is still one more day of summer. I am holding on as long as I can. I can’t officially say good-bye until tomorrow. Can you take one more summer recipe? It is among the simplest and easiest I do. Only 4 ingredients including one of my favorite fruits, fresh figs.

Caramelized Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Syrup

Butter

Fresh firm, ripe, figs, stems removed and sliced in half, lengthwise

Goat cheese

Balsamic glaze or syrup

Melt some butter in a non-stick pan (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan) over medium heat. Place figs, cut-side-down, in pan. Cook figs a few minutes or until they begin to turn a light golden brown. Flip them over and place a teaspoonful of goat cheese on each one. Cook another minute or until goat cheese is warmed through and begins to melt. Transfer figs to a serving plate and drizzle with balsamic syrup.

~now bid a fond farewell to summer