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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An obsession with perpendicular vaulting and also rice pudding

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I kind of love Harry Potter.

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As in, not the kid. Obviously. But the books! And the movies, on a certain level. They’re just so my generation. And besides, when I turned eleven and didn’t get a Hogwarts letter, I convinced myself that the yank version of Hogwarts started later, and that I still had a chance to be magical. Doesn’t every little kid at some point want to do magic? Wand waving type magic though, not the sawing people in half variety…

My patronus would undoubtedly be a tiger… which is really just a big kitty!!

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I also wish I had classes in a castle. I mean, HELLO have you SEEN the perpendicular vaulting in there?! It’s freaking gorgeous (Side note: during the epic battle of Hogwarts takes place in the last book, I kind of had a mini panic attack until I reminded myself that it was a set, and not some piece of glorious architecture). And um, turrets?! Lancet windows? The great hall ceiling?? And staircases that move? (wait, maybe no on that last one for expediency’s sake…) Anywayyy. Nerd alert! Ever since I wrote my thesis I’ve been startlingly aware of gothic architecture. At one point I toyed with the idea of proposing a thesis discussing the Hogwarts architecture in relation to the neo-gothic, but I kind of didn’t think that would go over real well… Whatever. It would have been an entertaining presentation!

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Anyway. Enough babble: time for dessert (which is obviously why you’re all here anyway, riiiight? Or can it be that you really like reading my random tangents? Wait. Don’t answer that). I have an Italian dessert for you today, which is kind of a cross between baked rice pudding and a soufflé. It’s delicious. I don’t care if you don’t like rice pudding, you should make this anyway. Big thanks to Elaine and Ramona who dropped off a massive bag of blood oranges for me! I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest, but never fear, they’ll go in many delicious things I’m sure.

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Torte di Riso

Ever so slightly adapted from Nutmegs, seven, here! I was able to get 9 servings out of my 10″ springform pan. This torte is delicious, worth every minute of stirring over the stove. It is dense yet light, chewy yet fluffy. The blood oranges lend it just a little bit of citrusy overtones, and the vanilla bean makes your kitchen smell like heaven. I know those little beans are expensive, but seriously: this is worth it!

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  • 4 c milk (I used 3.25 unsweetened almond milk, 0.75 c 1% dairy, as that’s what I had)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • zest of 1 blood orange
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 7/8 c arborio rice
  • 3.5 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Add milk, vanilla bean, orange zest, and sugar into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (Mine went for more like 40 minutes, so use your best judgement). The rice should be cooked and slightly al dente. Whisk it good a few times, then leave to cool (if you can prevent yourself from eating it straight out of the pan… not that I speak from experience or anything *ahem*). It should thicken a bit more as it cools.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 10″ springform pan (I used coconut oil as usual).

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks; then add in orange juice and whisk until thick and gorgeously orangey. Stir this into the cooled rice. Whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then fold 1/3 of them into the rice. Once incorporated, fold in the rest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evening out the top with a spatula. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (mine went for exactly 60). If the cake browns too much during baking, loosely cover the top with foil. Let cool, then cut with a sharp knife! I stored mine in the fridge and it kept well for a few days (let’s be real, it only lasted about two).

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