For weeks now, while walking by the local produce stand just around the corner of my house on my way to work, I’ve looked longingly at the cartons of fresh figs nestled among the other bountiful fruits and vegetables. I could look at food all day, enchanted by the brilliant colors, earthy, exotic aromas and savoring the by turns rough and waxy-smooth tactility. But the figs captured me especially: soft, spongy globes of fuchsia and green and deep purple, stacked neatly in a plastic container. So finally, on Saturday, I gave in to irrational food purchases and walked out of the shop with two cartons–15 figs in all–without a thought as to how I might use such a quantity. As it turns out, there are a plethora of uses for fresh figs, and within minutes of returning home and browsing the web, my fingers were already itching to bake.
I was torn, however–fig muffin popovers or an indulgent torte?? It was a harrowing decision, but in the end I decided to throw practicality and health-consciousness out the window and went with the torte, regardless of the fact that I live alone, am not yet well-acquainted enough with my neighbors to drop by with homemade cakes, and my freezer is already full of blueberry muffins and apricot rolls from last week, leaving me with the sad, inevitable truth that I, and I alone, will end up eating the whole thing. But I despaired for only a moment, until I had a slice with coffee fresh out of the oven and forgot all guilt for not sharing.
Thankfully, the rational part of my mind had some foresight of thought to take into account my propensity to bake excessively, which prompted me to purchase two extra bags each of flour, sugar, another carton of eggs and a stick of butter besides. So even with baking three fig tortes, pizza dough, and a loaf of bread in one weekend, I was worry-free. If you’re not baking obsessed, like I am, you’re probably fine spreading out your baking adventures over a more reasonable span of time and resources :p
Fresh Fig Torte
adapted from a recipe on Beyond the Plate
142 grams flour
1 tsp baking powder
113 grams butter (1 stick), softened
100 grams sugar
1 tsp rum
2 large eggs
5 ripe figs, quartered
Preheat oven to 200 C. Butter and flour a tart pan or springform pan. I used a 20 cm tart pan, and had enough batter left over to fill two small madeleine tins as well.
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a spatula until light and fluffy. Add rum, mix thoroughly, and then add the dry ingredients and the egg. Mix by hand until fully incorporated.
Scrape batter into tart pan(s), spread with a spatula to even cover the bottom, and fill only until about 2/3 of the pan is full, otherwise batter will rise over the top and spill. Arrange sliced figs on top, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden and toothpick tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Release springform, if using, or push tart pan bottom up from the sides to remove cake. Slice, and serve warm or room temperature with fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!