Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Amazing Fig Cake! The Gluten Free Answer To Christmas Pud!!

Gluten! A word that strikes fear into the heart's of too many people these days, especially as Christmas is around the corner. Well on my recent trip to Portugal I was fortunate to eat in a fantastic small family restaurant where I discovered this little gem which I have tweaked to make this the perfect alternative to Christmas pudding, it contains no flour, eggs, milk, cream, or butter but tastes amazing and is also great cold with a cup of expresso. It is very dense and rich though so it tastes really indulgent and goes a long way as the portions do not need to be large!  To make 8 generous portions, you will need:-

250 gms of Soft dried figs blended to a paste
250 gms of Ground almonds                                                  
250 gms of Castor sugar
25   gms of good quality Cocoa
2.5  gms of Ground Cinnamon
2.5  gms of Ground Mixed Spice
Grated Zest/peel of half a lemon
150 mls of cold water.

Place the water, sugar, lemon zest, cocoa, cinnamon and mixed spice in a large saucepan, slowly heat to a boil and stir constantly for about 5 minutes to reduce to a point where if you drag a spoon through the mixture it leaves a brief wake exposing the base of the pan. At this point it gets really exciting and you have to be really quick. Add the ground almonds and the fig paste and stir like your life depends on it. The mixture will tighten immediately into a really thick paste like cookie dough. Make sure the almonds and figs are mixed thoroughly then remove from the stove. You will feel like you have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson but believe me it will be worth it. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes and then spoon out onto a smooth surface. At this point you can mould the mixture into individual shapes, a ball,  or any damn shape you want really. I prefer a  traditional shallow cake shape as it is easier to divide. Dust with icing sugar and serve with Ice cream, vanilla cream, custard or just on its own. It also tastes divine if you feed it before serving with a little Disarrono You can keep it in the fridge and slice a bit when you need it and just blitz it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Versatile, gluten free and although I say it myself, absolutely delicious!! Enjoy.

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