I’ve been busy lately. It’s been good, but I’ve sorely missed my kitchen. We went back east to visit my family over the Labor Day weekend which was fantastic. I’ve also been working on a few other projects–but more to come on that soon. When I got back to Portland, the law of opposites caught right up with me. My absence from the kitchen catapulted me to the other end of the spectrum where I needed to bake something a little fancy and a touch grand.
Figs are happening here. It seemed to happen over night but there they were, their soft, velvety skins and green caps, beckoning me. I found a huge box at the store–on sale. Oh all right, I thought to myself in a tone not far from a school marm, outwardly sharp but inwardly secretly anticipating a fun kitchen challenge. Why I keep the inner-glee over small pleasures like finding the seasons first ripe figs from myself of all people, boggles my mind. But I still go along with it. With a pleased little smile pursed on my lips, I walk out of the store with my giant box of figs.
Dorie Greenspan’s boozy honeyed fig cake recipe was where I stopped. I contemplated for a few days, slicing open a fig here and there to savor it’s sweet milkiness and soft seeds. This helped me think, of course, and plan for what to make. But her recipe was where my slicing and thinking and planning came to an abrupt halt. I’d hit a wall and now I needed to turn left and make it. I have to laugh at myself because when it comes right down to it, I never plan what to make too far in advance. It’s always a gut feeling, what is freshest at the market, or what I have on hand. I knew from the moment I grabbed that box of figs that a cake was going to happen, I just didn’t know which one. (Again, why I pretend with myself sometimes boggles me. And again, I go along with it.)
Even with this cake, I added some fresh nutmeg. But the honey port caramel I kept true to the recipe. It became a surprise beginning and ending–it’s candy chewiness something to savor with the last crumbs of cake. Perfect for a fall picnic with your friends, the extra step of making the sauce is well worth it. Dollop it with some vanilla or almond hinted whipped cream if you want an extra bit of decadence–life’s short, I say go for it.
Fresh fig cake, by Tricia Martin