Caramelised Fig Semolina Loaf
- 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
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.