Almond, Black Pepper and Fig Cake With Tamarind Glaze
This cake celebrates the sweet, jamlike texture of juicy ripe figs against the backdrop of a fragrant almond cake, with a sweet-and-sour tamarind glaze as contrast. As the cake bakes, the fresh figs release their juices, which begin to caramelize and take on the flavor of black pepper. Tellicherry black peppercorns and long pepper, if available, are wonderful options to explore for their unique aromas. Frozen fresh figs will also work in this cake. Just remember to thaw them to room temperature and drain off any excess liquid before using. And, make sure to use tamarind paste, not concentrate. Thick, syrupy concentrates lack the fruity flavor of tamarind and carry a noticeable artificial aftertaste.
- Serves: 12 persons
- ½cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for greasing the baking dish
- 12to 14 fresh ripe figs
- 1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½cups/300 grams granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2cups/225 grams blanched almond flour
- 1cup/130 grams all-purpose flour
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- ½teaspoon baking soda
- ¼teaspoon kosher salt
- 3large eggs, chilled
- 1cup/240 milliliters full-fat plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
- 1teaspoon almond extract
- 1cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 2tablespoons tamarind paste (not concentrate)
- 1teaspoon olive oil
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a little butter.
Step 2Trim and discard the stalks from the figs. Slice the figs in half lengthwise, and place them in a small bowl. Sprinkle the pepper and 2 tablespoons sugar over the figs, and toss to coat well.
Step 3In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove any clumps and return to the large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk melted butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs and yogurt until smooth and combined. (It will be very thick.) Whisk in the almond extract.
Step 4Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the whisked liquid ingredients. Using an outward-to-inward circular motion, fold with a spatula until the mixtures are completely combined, and no visible flecks of dry ingredients remain. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Top the cake with the sliced figs with the cut sides facing up.
Step 5Bake cake until the surface is golden brown and the figs release their juices and turn slightly caramelized, about 1 hour, rotating halfway through baking. If it’s browning too quickly, loosely tent the cake with foil. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the baked cake and let cool for 15 minutes.
Step 6As the cake cools, prepare the tamarind glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, tamarind paste and oil until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, it can be thinned by adding a teaspoon or two of water.
Step 7Once the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, pour the glaze over, and serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers and eat within 3 days.