MAKES 1 CAKE
SAVEUR consulting editor Christopher Hirsheimer loves all kinds of fruitcake. Enthusiasm for the genre led her to create this recipe, akin to the lighter, simpler fruitcakes of her Scandinavian grandmother.
1 cup whole dried black mission figs
1 cup whole dried brown calymyrna figs
2 cups flour
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground mace
1 tsp. allspice
1 cup butter, softened
1 3⁄4 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup sour cream
2 cups coarsely chopped roasted almonds
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup Armagnac
1. Slice each fig lengthwise into 4 pieces (try not to rip skin; the nicest figs will be used to garnish cake). Place in a medium saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside until figs are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 4" × 13" terrine mold with greased parchment paper. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and allspice together into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat butter with an electric mixer, then gradually add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and sour cream. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer three-fourths of the figs from poaching liquid to batter. Mix with a wooden spoon, then fold in almonds. Spoon into mold and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, remove remaining figs from poaching liquid and place in a bowl. Add sugar to poaching liquid and reduce over medium-high heat until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Stir in armagnac, then pour over figs and set aside to macerate for at least 20 minutes.
6. Using a skewer, poke holes all the way through cake. Spoon syrup over cake and overlap remaining fig slices on top. (Store, wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for up to 1 week.)