Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fresh Fig Jam

Fig Jam
by Penny Rich

Thanks to Marcie and Bill Ferris for sharing their freshly harvested figs with me.

2 pounds ripe freshly harvested figs, washed and quartered
1 – 1 1/4 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of the figs
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Pinch of salt

Combine everything in a medium saucepan. Bring to a bubble and turn on to a simmer stirring constantly. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove lid* and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour more allowing the mixture to thicken, stirring often. Cool and jar. You can process the jars for you pantry, freeze them or just eat the jam fresh. Will last up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

*I like a smoother consistency so I hit it with the stick blender at this point to remove some of the larger chunks. You can leave yours chunky.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brooks Birthday Banana Cake with Chocolate Pecan Streusel

Every year for Brooks’ birthday I make her favorite Chocolate Babka , or as my kids used to call it Chocolate Bread. This year I thought I would mix it up a bit and try a new recipe using bananas and chocolate. Truth of the matter is that I bought to many bananas and they were beginning to get brown sports. Once that happens in my house, no one eats them, so they become bread. This year they became Brooks’ Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Pecan Streusel

For the Streusel
In a small mixing bowl combine
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup – 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325°
You can cook this two ways. Option 1 in a bundt pan, streusel in the center and on top of the cake or, Option 2 decorative bundt pan, streusel in the center of the cake only. Both cooking methods result in a wonderful cake. I prepared option 2 for the birthday girl.
Butter and flour your pan. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and butter adding the eggs one at a time. Mix until fluffy. Add the bananas and buttermilk mix until fluffier. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle half the streusel, and pour the remaining batter over the streusel. If you are topping the cake with the streusel, sprinkle the remaining streusel over the cake. If you are only using the streusel for the center, store in an airtight jar and save it for your next cake.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.