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Caramelised Fig Semolina Loaf

by Georgina Hayden from Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen

A glorious fig and semolina loaf cake recipe from Georgina Hayden's Taverna. This delicious bake is a true taste of summertime flavours, from fig and almond to sweet orange blossom, best served with creamy Greek yoghurt.

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Georgina Hayden

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I developed this loaf cake using some of my most loved Greek ingredients – figs being one of my favourite fruits of all time. And it is my perfect type of cake – damp, forgiving, delicate. My family loved it so much that my yiayia even asked me for the recipe, which is a really big deal.

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230g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
300g caster sugar
1 orange
3–4 figs (depending on size)
3 large eggs
175g ground almonds
125g semolina
1 heaped tsp baking powder
A pinch fine sea salt
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Essential kit

You will need: a 2lb loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper.

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Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Grease a 2lb loaf tin and fully line with greaseproof paper.

Cut 30g of butter into cubes and place in a small saucepan on a medium heat to melt. Add 100g of the caster sugar. Finely grate the zest of the orange into a small bowl and keep to one side, then squeeze the juice of half the fruit into the saucepan with the butter. Stir everything together, leave for 4–5 minutes until it has become a light syrup, then pour into the bottom of the lined loaf tin.

Cut the figs into ½cm slices. Line as many of the slices as you can in the bottom of the tin in a single layer, going up the sides a little if possible (don’t worry if you have a few slices left).

Cut the remaining 200g of butter into cubes and place in a large bowl with the remaining 200g of caster sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy – if you have a free-standing mixer, you can make the cake batter easily in there. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and don’t worry if it splits slightly, it will come back together. Add the ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and salt to the bowl and beat everything together till smooth. Stir in the reserved zest and the orange blossom water, and squeeze in the juice from the remaining orange half. Mix together, then pour the batter into the cake tin, over the sliced figs.

Place the cake tin in the middle of the oven for 45–50 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle; it should come out clean with no batter on it. When ready, leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then gently turn it out onto a cooling rack. Peel off the greaseproof and leave to cool almost completely. It’s perfect served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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Taverna is a journey back to Georgina’s Greek-Cypriot roots with exciting, vibrant, sun-soaked recipes that will make you rethink what Mediterranean food is all about. From simple salads to cinnamon-infused stews and orange-blossom scented pastries, this is food that reflects the cross-section of ingredients, flavours and infuences that characterises Cypriot cuisine.

Available to download for £1.99 for a limited time. UK customers only.


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From the book: Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen

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