Incredible rosemary and fig cake

When planning my holiday, I wanted to keep my eyes and mind open, gather inspiration and try out new things for the blog. However, even though I did get a lot of ideas and a few new ingredients, we did not do that much cooking (well… we roasted a lot of veggies and sausages on the camp fire, but I would not call it fine gastronomy). In the end this recipe came from an unexpected gift crowning our adventurous hikes in Hungary.

This is a really soft and airy dough, and the extra corn flour and marmalade give it a distant bitter taste that balances the sweetness of the baked ripe figs. The elegant scent of the fresh rosemary makes the cake a real Mediterranean treat.1IMG_3159 - Copy

Now, you might think that figs are not the most traditional Hungarian fruits, and you’re right! They are not very common in the continental climate and it would usually be really hard to get fresh ripe figs there. But we suddenly found ourselves at the right place, at the right time…

For the story of how we got a bag full of figs you need to know that we were hiking on the northern side of the Balaton lake in the south-western part of Hungary. This region is famous of it’s fragrant white wines, as grapes love the sunny hills and the volcanic soil on the slopes. You can climb the hills enjoying the spectacular view from the top, cross some villages to restock on food, set your tent in the middle of the forest and, best of all you, can have a dip in the lake after a long day of walking. You might even find a friendly local who, out of the blue, invites you into their garden to enjoy his company, the spectacular view (again, but now by night), and shares his incredible wine (and maybe even pálinka…). If you are lucky enough you may even know someone who lives in the area, visit him and discover that you are setting up your tent in his garden underneath an enormous fig tree that is completely loaded with ripe figs. This person then might even offer you can eat as many of them as you wish: eat figs for dinner, as a midnight snack, for breakfast, second breakfast, a mid-morning-after-pálinka snack. When he then also lets you take as many as you want when you’re leaving, THAT is how you get a bag full of perfect figs in the middle of summer! (Then, if you decide to actually make this wonderful cake, keep them safe and sound until you find an appropriate oven.)

Another way to get the bag of figs is by just going to the market in August and September, but where is the fun in that?

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Ingredients (for 12 slices):

  • 200g butter (room temperature) + a little extra for greasing the form
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 100g greek yoghurt
  • 250g flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 fresh ripe figs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

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Preheat oven to 200°C. Mix butter and sugar with a hand mixer, add eggs one-by-one then add honey, marmalade, yoghurt and rosemary. In a separate bowl mix the flours with salt and baking powder. Combine butter- and flour-mixtures and mix until smooth. Cut figs in 4 pieces lengthwise (if you cut off the very top of the fruit it will not get burnt in the oven) Grease a 24cm pie form and spread the dough evenly in it. Place figs on top, pushing a bit so that they get in about the same level as the dough (they won’t sink).

Bake on 200°C for 15 minutes and then decrease heat to 175°C and bake for 40 more minutes until the middle is baked (the fork comes out clean).

Let it cool for half an hour and serve fresh or keep it covered on room temperature until serving. You can keep it for up to 3 days. It is best served with a cup of hot coffee on an even hotter day.

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