Seasonal Baking: Fig Cake

Figs have a short season in early summer, but peak time is now, late summer, running through early fall. We were dying to use some of these succulent fruits in baking, and decided to try this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis for an Almond Fig Tart. We made a couple tweaks on the recipe, substituting whole wheat pastry flour for white and fig preserves for apricot. Whole wheat pastry flour is less dense than regular whole wheat flour and is perfect for tarts, cakes and cookies! Look for it from Bob’s Red Mill at your local market.

Fig Tart Recipe

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 3 ½ ounces almond paste, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 large or 12 small fresh figs, sliced, stems removed
  • ¼ cup seedless fig preserves
  • powdered sugar

Combine the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, gradually add the water until moist clumps form. If you don’t have a food processor an electric mixer will do. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and form into a ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.

Blend remaining sugar, almond paste, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and honey until smooth in food processor or blender.

Preheat oven to 400° F and position an oven rack in the center of the oven.

On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough into an 11-inch circle. Transfer dough and parchment to a heavy baking sheet or clay baker. Spread the almond filling over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Arrange the figs on top. Spoon preserves over the figs. Fold the dough border over the filling, folding the crust loosely and pinching to seal any cracks in the dough.

Bake until crust is golden, about 40 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, loosen crust from parchment paper with a knife, then transfer to a platter and serve. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


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