Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fig and Pecan Torte

First published Canberra Times 8 December 2010
When my friend Bronnie had trouble sleeping she would turn to baking cakes and biscuits. She often phoned me to join her in these late night sessions, and time was forgotten as we chatted and played with food. We spent many late hours together working through recipes, creating some degustation masterpieces and some disasters. It was during one of these late nighters we came up with this recipe that contains the flavours of Christmas.

Photo by Steve Shanahan

It makes a very quick and easy dessert, but is special enough to serve for a celebration. The torte should be served with a heavy cream or mascarpone, topped with a drizzle of Vino Cotto or brandy.

1 cup chopped dried figs
1 cup chopped pecans
4 egg whites
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp plain flour
1 tsp sifted icing sugar
Vino cotto or brandy
Roasted almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 170C

Mix chopped figs, nuts and flour in a bowl. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff, add the brown sugar a spoon at a time while beating. Fold in the fig and nut mixture and vanilla, mixing gently so as not to break down the mixture. Spoon into a greased and paper lined 23cm springform pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Leave in the oven with the door ajar to cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool. This will reduce shrinkage and cracking. Remove spring-form pan collar and dust with icing sugar and optional roasted almonds. Serve still warm with mascarpone drizzled with Vino Cotto or brandy.