FIG, YOGURT, AND ALMOND CAKE WITH EXTRA FIGS / Serves 10-12
Recipe adapted by Yotam Ottolenghi
300g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar, plus 1 teaspoon extra
4 large free-range eggs
270g ground almonds
150g all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground star anise, from about 7-8 star anise pods
150g Greek yogurt
12 figs, quartered
For the extra figs:
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 cup red wine
6 ripe figs, quartered
Greek yogurt, for serving
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9- inch loose-based cake tin with baking parchment. Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, and use a beater to work them well until they turn light and pale. Beat the eggs lightly, then, with the machine on medium speed, add them gradually to the bowl, just a dribble at a time, adding more only once the previous addition is fully incorporated. Once all the egg is in, mix together the almonds, flour, salt, vanilla and anise, and fold into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth, then fold in the yogurt.
Pour the batter into the lined tin and level roughly with a palette knife or a spoon. Cut each fig vertically into four long wedges, and arrange in circles on top of the cake, just slightly immersed in the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 340 F and continue baking until it sets – about 40-45 minutes longer. Check this by inserting a skewer in the cake: it’s done if it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool down before taking it out of the tin and sprinkling with a teaspoon of caster sugar.
You can eat the cake just as it is, but the addition of warm, syrupy figs turns it into something very special. Once the cake is cool enough, divide it into portions. Put three tablespoons of caster sugar in a medium saucepan and put on a high heat until the sugar starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat, carefully add the wine then return to the heat and let the caramel dissolve in the wine. Add the fig quarters and quickly toss them around just to warm them up. Spoon a generous dollop of Greek yogurt over each slice of cake, plus a few warm figs and their juice.