Cakes & Bakes: Fig, almond and walnut loaf

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.

Tinned figs | H is for Home

One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.

Mixture of eggs, bicarbonate of soda and pouring in coconut oil

Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.

Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home

Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.

Sliced fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later.

Fig, almond and walnut loaf
Ingredients
  1. 100g/3½oz dried figs
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz water
  3. 60g/2oz walnuts
  4. 175g/6oz ground almonds
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
  7. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1tsp cider vinegar
  9. Pinch of saltHome-made fig almond walnut loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  3. Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
  4. Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
  5. Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
  6. Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
  7. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
  8. Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
  9. Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
  10. Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
  11. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
  12. Cool on a wire rack before eating
Notes
  1. You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
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Adapted from River Cottage
Adapted from River Cottage
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Marzipan refrigerator cookies

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Home-made marzipan refrigerator cookies and mug of tea | via @hisforhome

I had a large lump of marzipan and some chocolate ganache left over from making last week’s petit fours. I HATE throwing food away so I decided to make a batch of marzipan refrigerator cookies.

Marzipan refrigerator cookie dough

It was a quick and easy recipe.

Slicing marzipan refrigerator cookie dough

They can be cooked off in small or larger batches – the dough can live happily in the fridge for a week or so – or freezer more indefinitely.

Cooked marzipan refrigerator cookies cooling on a wire rack

Nothing beats a homemade biscuit – and we loved the sweet, almond flavour of these. If you prefer your cookies to be soft & gooey rather than crisp, lower the heat of the oven to about 150ºC.

Luncheon seed cake
A Victorian slab cake
Ingredients
  1. 225g / ½lb flour
  2. 1tsp baking powder
  3. 85g / 3oz butter
  4. 85g / 3oz caster sugar
  5. ½tsp caraway seeds
  6. 2 eggs
  7. wine glassful of milkLuncheon seed cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 15cm/6-inch loose-based cake tin
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder
  4. Rub in the butter
  5. Add sugar and caraway seeds
  6. Stir in the eggs and milk
  7. Pour the batter into the greased tin
  8. Bake for about an hour
  9. Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack
Notes
  1. It works well with a scrape of butter and is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea
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Adapted from Borwick's Cookery Book
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Bakewell tart

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Slice of home-made Bakewell tart via @hisforhome

This week’s Cakes & Bakes offering is a quintessential British classic – Bakewell tart. I’ve never featured a Hairy Bikers recipe previously – but I do like lots of what they cook.

flour and butter in a food processor

When I looked at the quantity of ingredients, I thought that it seemed a lot. An entire pack of butter, 2 packets of ground almonds, 8 – yes EIGHT – eggs in the filling (and a further three in the pastry).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

The recipe supposedly makes one 23cm/9-inch tart, but I used less than half of the pastry and just over half of the filling that it called for.

Rolled out sweet shortcrust pastry

I’m not wasting anything though, both the spare pastry and the filling have gone into the freezer; I’ll be able to make another tart in double quick time next time.

Bakewell tart shortcrust pastry base

Bakewell tart is a perfect cake for our 4 o’clock afternoon tea break.

Raspberry jelly spread on a cooked Bakewell tart shortcrust pastry base

It’s not dry, but a sip of tea after every couple of mouthfuls works so well.

Bakewell tart filling ingredients

Almonds and fruity jam are such a great combination of flavours. Throw in some buttery pastry and you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Uncooked Bakewell tart

There’s a good reason it’s become a classic.

Home-made Bakewell tart

There’s at least 8 slices in the tart so that’s four days sorted – unless we’re incredibly generous and give a piece away!

Bakewell tart
For the pastry
  1. 425g/15oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 250g/9oz unsalted butter
  5. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  6. ½ tsp salt
  7. 50g/2oz ground almonds
For the filling
  1. 400g/14oz ground almonds
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 8 eggs, beaten
  4. ½ tsp almond essence
  5. 3 tbs raspberry jam
  6. 50g/2oz flaked almondsBakewell tart ingredients
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For the pastry
  1. In a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar, butter and almonds and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the eggs & yolks one at a time and pulse until a smooth dough is formed
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/360ºF/Gas mark 4
  5. Grease & flour a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin
  6. Unwrap the chilled pastry and roll out onto a cold, floured work surface (this is a very 'short' pastry and at first will be difficult to handle)
  7. Line the tart tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. Prick the base with a fork, then cover the pastry lightly with a round of baking parchment. Cover the parchment with baking beans (I use dried chickpeas) put into the oven to bake blind for 15 minutes
  8. Remove the pastry base from the oven, pour out the baking beans (or chickpeas) remove the baking parchment and set aside to cool. If the base is still a little underdone, return it to the oven for a minute or two to dry out
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 165ºC/330ºF/Gas mark 2
For the filling
  1. Put the ground almonds and caster sugar into a bowl and combine
  2. Add the beaten eggs and almond essence and combine well
  3. Once the tart pastry base has cooled, spread a generous layer of raspberry jam onto the bottom
  4. Pour the filling mixture over the raspberry jam to fill the pastry case almost to the top
  5. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is baked through and golden-brown all over
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or cold
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/