Fresh figs are months away here in New Jersey , but this cake makes use of dried figs, readily available any time of year. My dad’s wife made this cake years ago and gave me the recipe, one she got from her local newspaper, but it’s attributed to chef Al Paris, of Philadelphia’s (now closed) Heirloom and Paris Bistro restaurants. With almond paste as one of its ingredients, the fragrance alone is inviting. The flavor is every bit as delicious as the smell that will permeate your kitchen while in the oven, and the texture is dense and moist. The recipe calls for dried figs, but once fresh fig season arrives, this would be delicious with those as well.
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It’s that time of year when figs are in abundance both in farmers’ markets and on backyard fig trees. However, my ornery fig tree has an abundance of healthy leaves but few figs growing on it. I’ll be lucky to get a half dozen to ripen at most. Last year was a bit better, and we enjoyed perhaps a dozen ripe figs, all ripening one at a time, making it impossible to bake anything that required more than one or two. It’s not the first fig tree I’ve grown, and hope springs eternal, but let’s just say I’ve given the ultimatum before to fig trees that don’t produce. I’ve got one planted in a pot for a year now also, and I’m going to try that as a backup in case this turns out to be a recalcitrant producer too.
In any event, I froze some of last year’s harvest, intending to use them sooner than this, but here I am making fig scones again. I made them in the past with fresh figs and found the flavor a little too mild, so I added some dried figs to the mix too, and I loved the combination of both types of figs.
I also added some pecans to the dough, just because I love pecans. But almonds and figs are a great combo too. If I were to do that, I’d add almond extract instead of the vanilla in the recipe.
Chop the figs into small pieces. If using frozen figs, don’t defrost them fully. Just enough to cut into pieces.
Shape the dough into a circle (be careful not to overwork the dough or the scones will be tough). Cut into eight sections, almost to the bottom of the dough to the pan. Sprinkle more pecans on top.
Cut them and separate the scones and serve as is, warm from the oven.
But for a little sweeter touch, drizzle some of the sugar-y glaze on top.