The first figs have just started to appear on the market stands, and I just can’t resist their call.
As a child, the only figs we ate were those growing in Grandma’s garden – small and pastel-green, with a bright red, sweet and jammy flesh. I remember them being ripe and ready in early September. She had so many that it was impossible to keep up, so we came up with all kinds of recipes to use them up. I liked them with yoghurt and honey, or simply oven-roasted, then topped with chopped almonds and a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. I loved fig jam, and fig jam crostata even more.
I have been living far from Grandma’s garden for a while now, but my passion for figs hasn’t faded a bit. I bought a good bagful at the market the other day, and after eating almost all of them as simple as they come, I had to get creative with those left behind, which were becoming a little too soft.
I found this lovely cake recipe and it was perfect for what I had in mind and in my fridge. The cake turned out as light and airy as a soufflé, and perfuming of orange blossom water. We all loved it; it felt just perfect for these last days of summer.
Turkish Yogurt Cake with Figs
4 large eggs, separated
100 g (1/2 cup) cane sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
350 ml (1 1/2 cups) full-fat Greek yoghurt
Grated zest + juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water
Butter, for greasing the pan
4-6 fresh figs, halved
Icing sugar, for dusting the cake
Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy and light. Add the flour and mix until combined; then, stir in yoghurt, lemon zest and juice and orange blossom water. Beat the egg whites in a clean glass bowl using an electric egg beater until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter until combined.
Grease a 22cm/9-inch springform cake pan with butter. Pour the batter into the pan and arrange the fig slices on top, face up. Bake the cake for 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springy (it’ll look a lot like a souffle). The cake will rise a lot but will decrease when removed from the oven. Let it cool completely before dusting with icing sugar, slicing and serving.