**This giveaway is now closed, and a winner has been selected. Thanks to everyone who participated!!**
If there’s anything better than summer, it’s late summer when fig season begins. I have a serious love affair with this fruit, but you wouldn’t know it considering that I’ve only written about them once in the two years I’ve been blogging. Oh the injustice!!
After a few false starts with some early season picks, we’ve arrived at the peak of fig season at our market. Plump Brown Turkey figs as sweet as nectar, with a good weight in the hand, vanish practically on sight. With fruit this ripe and delicious, you don’t need to do much. But since I seem to have issues of self-control at market stands, particularly in the presence of high-quality produce from farmers I know and believe in, alternatives have to be found, and I’m happy to have come across Molly‘s recipe for an Apricot Almond Torte. Replace figs for apricots, add a dash of rum and increase the amount of almonds used, and we have a sophisticated treat for weekday breakfasts.
Since this torte will probably be gone by the time you read this, I’ve got another treat in store for you. When I started Beyond the Plate, I was on the hunt for a good stationery designer for my blog’s business cards. After all the effort that went into designing the look and feel of this site, I wasn’t going to settle for a run-of-the-mill print job! Instead, I indulged my inner stationery geek and worked with the delightful Kim Burks at Paper Lovely on custom designed letterpress business cards. Yes, yes, I know, this isn’t the most rational decision out there, but I’d argue that rationality and aesthetics don’t always go hand-in-hand. Besides, what better way to stand out from the crowd than with a letterpress calling card?
Because I know that my readers are likely to be people with a good sense of style, who pay attention to the small details and love to entertain, Kim and I have been working on a giveaway to help round out your summer entertaining season (or, if you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere, begin yours).
Up for grabs is a set of 12 assorted letterpress coasters for a fun twist to brunches and soirées, and a set of personalized stationery with 20 flat notes and envelopes for hand-written invitations and thank you notes.
To win both items, just leave a comment below sharing your answer to the question: “When was the last time you wrote or received a hand-written note?”
This giveaway is open to readers worldwide and ends at midnight PST on Tuesday, September 13. One lucky reader will be picked at random and I’ll announce the results next week.
And now, the recipe!
Fig Almond Torte
Adapted from Orangette / Serves 8
I use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal for this, but you could certainly make your own by whizzing up blanched almond slivers in the food processor. I recommend either slicing the figs lengthwise till they’re about ¼-inch thick or quartering them, arranging them in a pretty little circle. I wouldn’t halve the figs, however, as they’d sink to the bottom, and miss out on the chance to get all sticky and caramel-like. Unless of course, you’re looking to make a Fig Torte Tatin. While we tend to enjoy this torte au naturel, I imagine it’d be equally good with ice-cream, mascarpone or lightly whipped cream.
- 2½ ounces/ 71 grams blanched almond meal
- 2½ ounces/ 71 grams all-purpose flour
- Dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick/ 113 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces/ 100 grams sugar
- 1 tablespoon light rum
- 2 large eggs
- About 4 to 5 ripe figs, sliced or quartered depending on your preference (see headnote)
- Preheat the oven to 375F/ 200C. Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then tighten the springform ring to keep the parchment in place, trimming the excess.
- Stir together the almond meal, flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside while you prepare the wet ingredients.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale yellow and fluffy. Switch to the lowest speed setting then add the rum, the dry ingredients and the eggs. Return the speed to medium and beat for another 5 minutes until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan, using your spatula to spread the mixture so that it evenly covers the base of the pan. Arrange the fig pieces atop the batter and bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the cake turns golden brown. A toothpick test should also come out clean.
- Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake before unlocking the pan, then leave to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
Disclosure: This giveaway was made possible via a donation from Paper Lovely.