A figgin’ awesome tart (and some bad puns)

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Hello and happy weekend!

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We’re having beautiful fall weather over here today – it’s starting to cool down during the days (which I love) and the nights have been appropriately chilly. As such, I wanted to get on the last of fig season before they’re gone from the markets!

See fig. 1:

hahah see what I did there!! Figs?! Fig. 1?! Bahaha. Alright, I’ll stop torturing you… moving on.

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This tart is basically breakfast disguised as dessert. It has barely any added sweetener (maple) and it’s made of yogurt and eggs! C and I both LOVED the crust – I mean, we’re suckers for anything cornmeal anyway, but the combination of cornmeal and rosemary is just perfectly savory against the yogurt custard. I have a thing for rosemary in desserts anyway, so that was a given for me!

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We had it both for dessert and breakfast (of course) – I loved it with ice cream, but it is equally delicious alongside eggs and kale for breakfast.

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A few photos, just because they’re pretty, and I like to keep my little corner of the internet as visually appealing as possible! There is a lot out there these days – let’s keep this little spot happy.

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I can’t wait to get into the fall produce! I have some late season peaches that I froze and I feel I need to use, but apples and pumpkin are calling my name… we’ll see what sounds good by the time next weekend rolls around. In the meantime, I highly suggest you make this! It’s a very lowkey dessert – the filling comes together in about three minutes, and the whole thing (from crust to finish) takes just over 30 minutes in the oven.

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I love this time of year – the shorter days, earlier nights, and crispy air make me want to curl up at home with a good book and something in the oven.

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Yogurt Custard Tart on a Rosemary Cornmeal Crust

Lightly sweet – this is basically breakfast! The filling is made of greek yogurt and eggs with a bit of vanilla and almond extracts. The crust is wonderfully savory, with the cornmeal and rosemary – a perfect compliment to the custardy filling. It only requires just over 30 minutes in the oven, so it’s ideal for those times when you need a quick dessert – just make sure to let it set before slicing. Yield: 1 9″ tart. Serves: up to 8. The crust is a Wait are Those Cookies original; the filling is adapted from Food52, here.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
7 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, melted coconut oil, and rosemary, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

For the filling:
3 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 c (340 grams/12 ounces) plain full fat Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk, whisked with a tiny pinch of salt

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the yogurt. (The order in which the ingredients are mixed makes a difference in the smoothness of the filling, so it’s yogurt into eggs rather than eggs into yogurt!) When the crust is ready, remove it from the oven and turn the temperature down to 300°F. Brush the bottom of the crust with just enough of the beaten egg yolk to make a thin (moisture-proofing) coating. Return the crust to the oven for 1 minute to set the yolk. Remove the crust from the oven again. Scrape the filling into the hot crust and spread it evenly. Return the tart to the oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges but, when the pan is nudged, quivers like soft Jell-O in the center, 20-25 minutes. Check often in the last few minutes, as over-baking isn’t fun.

Cool the tart completely, in the pan, on a rack. Refrigerate if not serving within 3 hours. Top with figs, pomegranates, candied ginger, rosemary springs – anything that suits your fancy!

Store leftovers covered in plastic wrap in the fridge; keeps well overnight.

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Behold, fave human’s vision of the tart’s perfect angle:

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Gettin’ figgy with it

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My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.

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Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!

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I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…

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A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….

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However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!

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This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….

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Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.

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Happy almost-weekend!

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Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)

The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!

For the roasted figs:

  • 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).

To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.

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Fig season is upon us!

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It’s fig season!!! Another reason to love fall, as if I didn’t have enough already.

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As much as I start missing the fresh summer berries, it’s so refreshing when the seasons start changing (ish. Emphasis on ish. It’s been in the upper 90s over here for the last few days…um okay I get it! We’re making up for lost time?! But seriously, enough). Figs are so fun with their little tiny seeds. I used to not be such a fig fan, but they’ve won their way into my heart. Especially when they hang out with goat cheese and hazelnuts and honey. But really, I’ll eat them in any form.

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Especially when rice pudding is involved… I never ever say no to rice pudding. EVER.

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This version is baked into a cake/tart type thing, and is sliceable and delicious and fantastic for breakfast as well as dessert. I could wax rhapsodic about this dessert but you really should just make one and thank me later. It’s delicious! It doesn’t use much sweetener either, which is a giant plus in my book and also makes it doubly acceptable for breakfast (also it’s excellent with coconut gelato… just looking out for you!)

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Handily enough, it also comes together quickly and doesn’t require any wildly unusual pantry ingredients.

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I’m reminded of the Italian cake Torta di Riso (I did one years ago and it’s somewhere on the blog… I used blood oranges for that one) — basically a rice custard that is baked into a sliceable cake. This one is a little denser than the Italian version (definitely NOT a bad thing), and is infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit is in season (though I highly recommend figs).

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I’ve also had some time to draw again lately, which I love. Baking + drawing = happy days.

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Enjoy fig season in all its glory and bask in some rice pudding. Happy Equinox!

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Baked Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Honeyed Figs

Gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free! Densely textured, lightly sweet cake perfect for dessert and breakfast. If you love rice pudding, this cake is for you. Yield: 1 9″ pie pan (mine is the deep variety, about 2″ deep). Recipe lightly adapted from A Fork and a Pencil, here!

  • 1 c arborio rice, rinsed
  • 1 c water
  • 1 1/3 c light coconut milk, divided (should be exactly one standard 13.5 fl oz can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • figs to your heart’s content (I used 4), halved
  • enough small dollops of honey to drop into each fig half

In a saucepan, combine rice, water, and 2/3 c coconut milk. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until it just barely boils. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid, no more than 10 minutes. Once rice is cooked (it should still have some chewy bite to it) and the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and let cool briefly while assembling everything else.

Lightly grease your pie plate with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together, add vanilla, sea salt, maple, and coconut sugar. Pour the cooked and cooled rice into this bowl, and stir to combine. Pour the whole thing into the prepared pie dish (don’t freak if there’s some leftover liquid on the top of the dish, it will be fine! Promise). Halve the figs and press them into the rice, dropping small dollops of honey into the center of each fig half.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is firm when touched and the surface is golden brown. Mine came out perfectly at an hour. Let cool for a bit before slicing. I like it cold, so I refrigerated mine for a few hours before eating, but that’s your call! Store any leftovers covered in the fridge (foil over the pie plate works just fine). Enjoy for dessert with your fave ice cream or gelato (coconut is marvelous) or for breakfast alongside your eggs and kale!

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Fig Newtons don’t have figs in them… do they?!

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I’m pretty sure everyone has a fig newton memory.

Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but I’m sure there’s at least one stored away in those memory banks. Mine happen to be a positive ones… I looooved those little figgy cookies growing up. I liked to eat around the cakey outside first, and then eat the middle with tiny little nibbles (Strangely enough I did that with Madeline cookies too, I see a trend here?!). But probably if you’d have asked me if I liked figs, I would have turned my nose up in an unbridled look of disgust. Because I did I associate figs with fig newtons? Absolutely not. Does a fresh fig taste like the interior of a fig newton? Um… no.

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Luckily for me, liking figs had nothing to do with liking fig newtons. I was fairly well supplied with fig newtons as a child, and even into college when I became obsessed with the Whole Foods version of “healthier” figgy bars (and my mom would nicely send a box of them in my freshman care packages). I’m pretty sure I hadn’t eaten a real fig until I was (gasp) OUT of college. Whoops. Definitely didn’t do that on purpose. Hey, in my defense, I didn’t cross paths with figs very often (until now).

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Oh fig newtons, how full of processed crap you are! I want to like them from a nostalgic point of view, but seriously?! I tried a bite of one a while ago and almost spat it out. Fact: they taste like cardboard. Thanks, five kinds of corn syrup… you might enable these to last through the apocalypse, but you can’t make them taste like food! Oh wait. That’s right, they’re a food product, not a food.

BUT!

Lucky for you. THESE taste even better than a fig newton AND they’re made from real food and things you can pronounce. Wheeee!

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Vegan Figgy Bars

I got about 20 little bars out of this, that were slightly bigger than a conventional fig newton. Vegan, refined sugar free, and gluten free. What’s not to like? Oh and right, they’re delicious. Recipe slightly adapted from The Iron You, here!

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4+1/8 c maple syrup
  • 1/8 c refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (a good handful) dried figs*
  • 1/8 c lemon juice
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • 1 tbsp peach jam**
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

*my figs were SO dry, they were like small pebbles. I reconstituted them in a bit of boiling water for about 10 minutes, which made them soft enough not to kill my food processor.

**mine was flat peach, raspberry and vanilla (freaking delicious), courtesy of Anna!! Her blog is over here.

In a largeish bowl, combine almond flour and salt. In a slightly smaller bowl, stir together maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until combined. The batter will be super runny, which is okay! Cover the bowl and pop it into the fridge for at least an hour, to let it solidify a bit.

In the bowl of your food processor, process figs until they’re more like a chunky paste. Add in lemon juice, dates, jam, and vanilla, and blend until combined. I tasted mine a few times along the way and adjusted as I went. Set the filling aside until the dough is done.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using two separate sheets of parchment, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Use a knife to divide it into two roughly even rectangles, then spread the filling down the dough, slightly off center so there is enough dough to cover it back up. Use the parchment paper to roll the dough back over the filling, pressing the edges and the ends together to seal it off. Make them look pretty by smoothing with your fingers (you’re all alone in the kitchen, who’s to see?!)… then pop them into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they begin to brown. They should feel slightly firm to the touch in the center when they’re done. Let cool on the baking sheet before moving them, as they’re slightly delicate before they’re cooled. These keep best in the fridge!

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