Lately, I’ve had the appetite of a sixteen year-old male with two-a-day football practices. I just can’t get it under control. I recently upped my yoga routine to four or five 90-minute Vinyasa classes a week, and I’m blaming this new sweat schedule for the loquacity of my stomach (which is so loud in the mornings, it wakes my husband). I knew the benefits of a steady yoga practice included a calm mind, flexible hamstrings, and, perhaps, maybe five years down the line, Madonna’s deltoids…but it hadn’t occurred to me that a 2,200-calorie diet would be possible. With consolation prizes like that, I may never get off my mat! (Except to eat spoonfuls of cashew butter.)
I’ve never been one to snack between meals; in the past, even a little munching could ruin my dinner. Not now. Almost as soon as I finish one meal, it seems I’m ready for the next.
Last week I needed something quick and was craving a little sweet. I browsed the cupboard and fruit bowl. I had everything necessary for the gluten-free almond batter I used for the Baby Bosc Pear Tart a while back. I substituted the pears for the fresh figs I’d cradled home from the market on Saturday (a used egg carton is perfect for this job). It seems this recipe is perfect with just about any soft fruit – apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, or even grapes would work wonderfully. The fruit is a bright contrast to the gluten-free batter, which is dense, moist, buttery, nutty, and possesses that earthy sweetness that can only come from rapadura. So good.
FIGS have a neutral thermal nature. They are lubricating (perfect for the dry weather coughs I keep hearing) and a mild laxative (you know I have no reservations talking aboutsuchthings – and I won’t apologize! I just won’t.) They are an amazing source of calcium, and also have a significant amount of magnesium and potassium.
Fig season is late summer through early fall. This fruit is extremely delicate and perishable; as I previously mentioned, I recommend bringing an empty egg carton to the market for transporting the precious specimens. Choose plump fruit with smooth skin; use or eat within 48 hours of purchase.
FRESH FIG & ALMOND TORTE (gluten-free)
APPROXIMATELY 6 SERVINGS
4 large figs (slightly ripe but still firm to the touch), halved 3 ½ ounces rapadura* or maple sugar (approximately ½ cup + 2 tablespoons) + a couple tablespoons for macerating the figs 3 ½ ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (it is best to leave it out overnight) 2 large eggs, at room temperature ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 5 ¾ ounce almond flour (approximately 1 ½ cups) ¼ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon sea salt
NOTES Though I prefer this recipe in a thin, rectangular tart pan, I experimented with baby tartlets, and a small springform (which results in a deeper torte) – all turned out fantastic. If you use a different pan, just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
*Rapadura is unrefined, evaporated cane juice. Unlike cane sugar (organic or not), rapadura contains all of sugarcane’s vitamins and minerals. You can use rapadura in any recipe you’d use white sugar, but the result (in my experience) will differ in three ways: it will be lightly colored; it will have a less sweet, slightly earthy flavor; it will be slightly more moist.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a rectangular tart pan (I brush on melted butter); place on a sheet pan and set aside. In a small bowl, toss halved figs with a couple tablespoons of rapadura or maple sugar and set aside.
Place butter and 3 ½ ounces rapadura or maple sugar in a large food processor; pulse until combined. In a separate bowl, combine eggs with vanilla extract. Add egg mixture to the bowl of the food processor and pulse to combine.
Place almond flour, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Add to the food processor and pulse until the batter is thoroughly mixed. Pour into prepared tart pan. Gently lay fig halves atop the batter; no need to press them down, as they will sink a bit as they bake.
Cook for approximately 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before unmolding and slicing. Store at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.