It is finally December and the stores are packed with my favourite produce: nuts, dried fruit, and oranges. I admit, I could eat a bag of dried figs and a kilogram of oranges every day.
Dried figs are so versatile, they make a great snack but also do a great job when added to baked goods. For example I really like them in bread.They are also a wonderful addition to cakes because they usually soak up moisture. Which means that you don’t have to worry about a soggy crust. Even though dried fruits play an important role when it comes to Christmas baking, I wanted to come up with something that tasted a bit more like fall or even summer. This fig cake can be served on many occasions. Sunny Sunday afternoons, cold winter evenings, maybe it could even be part of your Christmas board.
Fig Streusel Cake
For the filling:
150 g (1 cup) dried figs, stems removed and chopped
150 ml (2/3 cup) orange juice
1 vanilla bean
200 g (7 oz.) fig jam
Place figs and orange juice in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds to the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes until the figs are soft and start to fall apart. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor, add fig jam and purée until smooth. Set aside.
200 g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) margarine, softened
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
200 g (2 cups) ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch salt
zest from half a lemon
250 g ( 2 cups) all-purpose flour
In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the flour and form a soft dough. Knead in flour. Shape into a disk, wrap in foil and place in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 180°c (350°F). Grease and flour a 25 cm (10 inch) springform pan. Set aside 1/4 of the dough and press remaining dough into the bottom and the sides of the pan. Pour the fig mixture into the crust and spread it out evenly. Crumble the remaining dough on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.