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Goat Cheese And Fig Cake with Fig Mascarpone Verrine

There is something about blogging that is quite exceptional. I don’t mean all the wonderful friendships, mail exchanges, meetings, packages and other benefits of creating strong bonds over the internet. There is something in the air it seems, whether we get inspired by the same author, recipe or share our discoveries of the “in” food item of the moment. It has been happening to me lately, I come home from the market with a fruit, type of chocolate or a load of yeast and flour. I turn on the computer, check out my favorite blogs, discover new ones through comments left here and elsewhere and find delicious pictures that incorporate exactly what I just brought back in my basket. What has put this sort of cosmic/kismet feeling over the top recently is when I just pulled out something from the oven, set it out to cool on the countertop, read a few blogs, waiting impatiently before things cool enough for me to take a bite, and found that someone has just posted about it…and I made it without even knowing. When it comes to seasonal produce I can understand but a specific item….makes you wonder what water bloggers are drinking…(insert Twilight Zone music here).

Let me illustrate that thought. I was slowly working my way through a giant bag of figs when my favorite Cream Puff, Ivonne announced she was hosting Sugar High Friday “The Beautiful Fig”…Uh, it’s not like she is my neighbor and she is trying to help me go through my loot, but in this case her post was received with both a sigh of relief , “Yes! Something I have, and plenty of it!” and excitement “Yes! I have another excuse to make something fancier than jam on toast!”.

I knew exactly what I wanted to bake. From the day I got Richard Leach’s book last year, I have been wanting to make every single dessert in it. Not only are the pictures exceptional, but the quality of his work is outstanding. I want to push it as to say that I equate him to my sugar daddy Pierre Herme: talented, innovative and funky. I have had my eye on one particular page in the book where one simple item, the Black Mission fig, becomes three impressive creations. Had I had the luxury of time last week, I know I would have tried to put my spin on them but I had to rely on my own creativity to capture the essence of the pages before me and come up with my own interpretation.

The goat cheese cake is so easy to make and so fragrant, I want to make it every single Sunday brunch. It would be fantastic with egg dishes such as omelettes and Benedict but also perfect served as is with a good drizzle of maple syrup. It has a nice crumb, made with both semolina and all purpose flours, and don’t be tempted to skip on the orange zest in it, it really enhances the flavor. The figs on top are simply sliced and drizzled with a little bit of local wild flower honey. Instead of paring the cake with fig sorbet and a fig flan as suggested by Leach, I went for something that would enhance the fresh figs instead of pulverizing them (nothing against sorbet) or cooking them. They were perfectly ripe and very tasty so I just made a little mascarpone cream and pomegranate and cardamom syrup and layered them in a “verrine”, and the spice instantly puts it in another dimension. A bite of cake, a bite of cream and we were in heaven. It may seem like a lot of work, but you can make things over several days as I did: the cake was made early in the week then cut and frozen, the pomegranate sauce keeps easily for a week and the verrine comes together in five minutes top. Eating it took even less time!

Goat Cheese and Fig Cake with Fig Mascarpone Verrine in Pomegranate Syrup:

For the Cake (serves 8)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tb baking powder
½ tsp. grated orange zest
½ tsp. salt
4 egg whites
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh goat cheese
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
6 to 8 Black Mission Figs, sliced
¼ cup honey (your choice)

Preheat oven to 300F.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, orange zest and salt. In a small bowl, combine the egg whites, goat cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth, then add to the dry ingredients. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour the batter into a buttered and flour 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and lightly golden. Allow to cool. With a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out 8 rounds, cover with fresh fig slices. Drizzle with the honey.

For the Pomegranate Cardamom Syrup:
In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring 4 cups of pomegranate juice to a boil with 3 whole cardamom pods, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. It will thicken as it reduces.

For the Fig and Mascarpone Verrine:
6-8 Black Mission figs, diced
1-11/2 cups pomegranate syrup
8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream, kept cold
¼ cup sugar

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks with the sugar and fold it in the mascarpone cheese.
In a 8 glasses, layer the cream, fresh figs, syrup twice, finishing with the figs and syrup. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve: pour a small pool of remaining pomegranate syrup on a large plate, set the goat cheese cake on top and serve it with the verrine on the side.

Ivonne, are you seduced yet?…

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Anonymous September 19, 2007 um 8:16 pm

Oh my sweet heaven! That is exactly where I’m headed after seeing this incredible creation. You are brilliant! And you have most definitely seduced me!

Thank you so much for taking part in SHF #35!

Anonymous September 19, 2007 um 9:10 pm

Hehe I would surely be seduced if I were Ivonne, as I see she is. What a gorgeous creation!

Anonymous September 19, 2007 um 9:25 pm

Magnifique, magnifique, magnifique… La photo… La recette…

Peabody September 19, 2007 um 9:31 pm

I’m seduced! Fantastic entry for SHF.

thepassionatecook September 19, 2007 um 9:38 pm

wow, what a treat! i must get this book of there’s more of this kind of dessert! looks stunning, is very unusual and an absolute treat. figs! gimme some figs now!

Anh September 19, 2007 um 10:05 pm

Helen, this post is brilliant! I think you have showcased the very best of fresh figs!

Deborah September 19, 2007 um 10:58 pm

I have actually never had a fresh fig before, but have been on the search for some ever since this theme was announced! I really hope I find some!

Brilynn September 20, 2007 um 12:10 am


I’ve been thinking of figs and goat cheese lately…

grcefulgrl September 20, 2007 um 12:18 am

I have to agree with the comment from april at cookworm-what an inspriration to find a blog with such great topics & pictures. I plan to visit again.

Cookie baker Lynn September 20, 2007 um 12:43 am

Beautifully done! I agree, there must be something in the water…

Big Boys Oven September 20, 2007 um 1:03 am

Oh so lovely…….gorgeous. I love the way you do your figs!!

Anonymous September 20, 2007 um 1:43 am

This is brilliant! Figs go so well with goat cheese. And a goat cheese cake sounds simply divine.
Je suis seduire aussi!

Mallow September 20, 2007 um 1:47 am

Pomegranite cardamom syrup?!! You are torturing me! And the figs – I can’t even find fresh ones here in Seattle. I want to be eating everything in that post!

Anonymous September 20, 2007 um 2:32 am

This is amazing. I love figs..I plan on planting a few bushes in the spring…and I make my own chevre from our goats' milk so I can’t wait for the combined fresh tastes!
Thanks for visiting my blog…you made my day, and I am honored.

Tuckers Turkey Farm September 20, 2007 um 4:50 am

I think you should be on the next Food Network Star contest. Just looking at these perfect culinary delights make me hungry. You have a beautiful blog!

Meeta K. Wolff September 20, 2007 um 6:06 am

If you were a man Helene, I’d kiss you for these exquisite creations. I love figs and enjoy eating them in any way they are served. These however are like a dream.

MyKitchenInHalfCups September 20, 2007 um 9:02 am

Geeze Louise – Goat Cheese and Fig Cake – Wow how could it get more perfect!
I’m thinking Helene that the word "neighbor" must be expanding.
This cake sounds like pure genius.

Glenna September 20, 2007 um 1:17 pm

O M G! That looks divine. All of my favorite flavors combines. I can imagine how the bite of the goat cheese would be the perfect complement to the sweetness of the other two. Yum!

Anonymous September 20, 2007 um 3:29 pm

That looks absolutely amazing! I love the combination of figs and goat cheese.. I like mixing them in salads with some aged balsamic vinegar.

Lis September 20, 2007 um 5:33 pm

Holy cow.. I think you’ve seduced quite a few more other than Ivonne. =)

Both look amazing and sound so tasty!

Beautiful photo too =)


Abby September 20, 2007 um 5:45 pm

Besides being beautiful, figs are just … awesome. (I use that word a lot!) I saw this pic on Flickr and I thought … "she’s done it again!" Gorgeous.

LizNoVeggieGirl September 20, 2007 um 7:01 pm

what a gorgeous way to use figs for the SHF #35 contest!! incredible presentation of your baked goods, as always :0)

Olga V. September 20, 2007 um 9:21 pm

this is just gorgeous!
i got a fig tree! i know what to do with’em! lol

i just love those pics, so beautiful so tasty:P

Mandy September 20, 2007 um 10:14 pm

I am speechless! this is so pretty!

Belinda September 20, 2007 um 11:55 pm

Another utterly perfect creation for me to covet and crave, Helene! 🙂

Mercedes September 21, 2007 um 1:18 am

That verrine is simply spectacular! Figs and pomegranates are great pairing. We don’t have mascarpone where I live, but I bet labneh or 'ashta would work equally well.

Casey September 21, 2007 um 1:25 am

Extremely impressed by that verrine. And I guess I’m going to have to buy that cookbook, despite my vows…

Cynthia September 21, 2007 um 1:52 am

Oh darling, what have you done…

Anonymous September 21, 2007 um 8:41 am

oh la la! That looks so delicious. My darling hubby would love it so much. I can’t take goat cheese but I hope my daughter does.

Hilda September 21, 2007 um 10:47 am

Quel délice! avec en plus de superbes photos pour agrémenter, malheureusement je crois que je ne vais pas avoir le temps de participer au SHF comme d’habitude, et en plus je n’y ai encore jamais participé! Va falloir que ça change ça.

african vanielje September 21, 2007 um 10:55 am

Oh to live in your house. The pictures, as always are beautiful, but the combination really rings true for me. I can just imagine some mediterranean shepherd sitting on a herb fragrant mountainside, unwrapping his lunch of goats' cheese and figs, with a fresh crust of bread and perhaps a little wild honey. How utterly Ellysian to put these into such a superb dessert. Yum

Anonymous September 21, 2007 um 11:03 am

Oh my!! Perfection 🙂

Anonymous September 21, 2007 um 12:41 pm

Que des supers saveurs qui font super envie. Grenade et figues, on peut pas demander mieux!

Half Baked September 21, 2007 um 2:35 pm

Wow! That is one beautiful creation. It sound like it tastes as good as it looks. I’m seduced for sure!

Anonymous September 21, 2007 um 3:17 pm

Beautiful Pictures! What a great way to use figs!

Amanda at Little Foodies September 21, 2007 um 5:11 pm

Oh! It’s so unfair. I made a layered cream and flowery fig fool thing and it looks pants compared to yours! I want lessons please.

Very beautiful and the combo of the goats cheese and fig cake sound wonderful.

Anita September 21, 2007 um 5:15 pm

Not only does your dessert sound fantastic, but all your figs are picture perfect! Another amazing feat by you Helene!

Graeme September 21, 2007 um 6:30 pm

Goat’s cheese & figs is delicious enough already, the mascarpone only sweetens the deal!

As a lot of you have already said – Gorgeous.

Kelly-Jane September 21, 2007 um 7:26 pm

A fabulous figgy pudding!

Melodieann Whiteley September 21, 2007 um 8:50 pm

I’ve died and gone to heaven! What a fabulous creation! I’m heading out the door right now to find some fresh figs and goat cheese. Two of my favorite foods and yet I never dreamed of putting them together. You are an inspiration to us all!

Anonymous September 22, 2007 um 4:55 pm

o my…this is so beautiful and looks delicious! i am missing so much in the blogging world!

Jane Librizzi September 22, 2007 um 6:09 pm

What a wonderful site. Thanks for the desserts with fruit. I have linked you to my arts journalism website.

Elle September 22, 2007 um 10:59 pm

What a fantastic pairing…the goat cheese cake, the marscapone, the spice, the pomegranant, and fresh, luscious figs bringing it all together. Seductive photo, too.

Kiki & Peaches September 22, 2007 um 11:10 pm

These photos got me more excited than I’ve been in a while, which is welcome (and a bit of a shame). Yum.

monica September 22, 2007 um 11:34 pm

such a beautiful cake! that is a truly marvelous combination…figs and caradamom, pomegranate. everything you do is such inspiration. many many thanks helen!

Sylvia September 22, 2007 um 11:41 pm

Figs and goat cheese are one of my favorite combination,I made a warm salad whit those ingredient a few mouth ago.And I really appreciated these cake recipe.Awesome creation

Amanda September 23, 2007 um 3:47 am

I have never before had a fig, accompanied by the desire to never eat one… but now it seems hopeless. That looked SOOOOO good. The photography is great, and even though I don’t know what a fig tastes like I swear I could taste the whole lot of it. I Love marscapone! Can’t wait to try it. 😀

Blame It on Paris September 25, 2007 um 12:07 am

Wow! This looks incredible. My mother has a huge fig tree, too.

Anonymous September 25, 2007 um 1:56 am

Oh my! So much gorgeousness in one post! Those look amazing! 🙂 How I wish I had your bounty of fresh figs…

Amy September 26, 2007 um 6:40 am

I adore mascarpone with fresh fruit and this is no exception! It sounds divine!

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