After I baked the Fig Bars the other day Anja brought some more for me to play with, which is just dangerous, because my love for figs has gotten, if possible, even wider and more intricate. It is so versatile, delicious and absolutely primal on the tongue that it lends itself to all savoury and sweet notions and fancies. As of yet, I have resisted the urge to just bite into one, because then it will be game over, and I won’t bake anymore but just recline on the couch with some DH Lawrence and feel all ethereal and stuff whilst fig pulp streams down from between my canines.
Ahem. So! I ganked this delicious and much enjoyed recipe from Rosewater and Thyme, and mmmm! I love the fact that I got to *make my own jam* in order to create this cake- in fact, the jam making is probably the most labour-intensive part of the whole process, and even then it was rendered utterly enjoyable by the fact that I was snuffling the air and licking my fingers clean of conveniently spilled balsamic, not to mention that my barbarian was reading my novel aloud to me. Bliss!
Just look at that! Glossy, glorious! OMGawsh the process is delicious- from the almost glaze of the beginnings to the thick jam of the end, glory!
This recipe makes about one cup or a dash more, so be prepared for some oorskiet, or leftovers, which never goes to waste. I donated mine to the in-laws, because we already have fig jam, but I will argue that it can hold its own against store-bought any day, and tis even better because of the balsamic undertones.
ETA: It seems that Rosewater and Thyme’s website doesn’t work anymore, so I’m going to paste the recipe here, because it really needs sharing, and the dinky piece of paper I typed it out on is getting old!
Balsamic fig jam
- 226g ripe figs, halved
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- Optional: 1 TBSP grated ginger
- Put all ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan and let it sit at room temperature for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir often to prevent burning. Let simmer for 30 mins, using back of wooden spoon to break up big pieces. Will be done when deep purple mixture and quite thick.
- Put in a jar and seal whilst still quite hot. Will store in fridge for about 1 month.
I must be honest and say the reason I chose this recipe, apart from the main star ingredients, was so that I could finally make a dent in my home-made butter! I have no clue what to do with the stuff since I haven’t eaten butter or margarine as a spread or whatever since I was 5 and ate it by the TBSpoonful.
Balsamic fig jam & almond cake
- 1 cup vegan butter, melted and cooled (I use this recipe)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 vegan eggs (make a flax or chia egg)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup wholewheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sliced or crushed almonds
- 1/2 cup jam (balsamic fig)
- Optional: cranberries or other decorative nuts and dried fruit
- Preheat to 175C. Prepare a springform pan by lining it with a piece of parchment cut to fit the bottom of the pan. If needed grease with cooking spray.
- Mix the sugar and butter until combined. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract. Mix until smooth.
- Fold in the flour and salt until just combined.
- Pour half the batter in the bottom of the pan and smooth out.
- Next, spread the jam in a thin layer on top of the batter layer, leaving a margin. Cover with the remaining batter and spread until smooth.
- Sprinkle with the almonds and press in cranberries if using. Bake for 40 minutes at 175C.
- Lower temperature to 148 and bake for another 30, until a toothpick comes out with a bit of crumb attached.
I must say, when making this part of the recipe, I marvelled at how beautifully my chia eggs blended into the mixture. I was concerned, as I got to the end of folding in the dry ingredients, at …well…how dry it all was- not at all spready as I’d expected. I added a last minute dash of soya milk just to make the stirring a tad easier, but decided to suck it up and go according to the recipe. So glad I did!
Although I had some trouble with the layers (since, again, it’s more of a spreading batter effort rather than pouring on the next layer, and my jam may have gotten a bit mushed into the top layer), the final product was, to my mind, awesome and just right! If you look below you can see the soft, darker tone of this moist and yet densely delicious cake. It’s not a cake as most South Africans know, since most cakes I see in stores are layered to the ceiling with creams and laden to the molten core with refined sugars and what not, but I would say this has a decidedly European flavour to it- say, descendants of the Frankish Empire that stuck closer to home may find it as it should be.
When the Man-thing got a piece he mmmd and aammmmmd for a short while (since it lasted a very short time on the plate) and immediately asked if I could make more tomorrow if he organized more figs from our source. He also asked if I could make this for his birthday- that is his version of the ultimate complement, since it’s usually a firm tradition of his mother making a rather glorious chocolate something cake that I have yet to veganize. Anyhow, do try this gamazing recipe, it’s really very straightforward and utter delight awaits thee! 😀