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How to make it: Georgina Hayden's caramelised fig semolina loaf

My family loved it so much that my grandmother even asked me for the recipe, which is a really big deal

By Georgina Hayden
Published 19 May 2019, 21:17 BST
Caramelised fig semolina loaf
Caramelised fig semolina loaf
Photograph by Kristin Pepers

I developed this loaf cake using some of my best-loved Greek ingredients — figs being one of my favourite fruits of all time. And it’s my perfect type of cake — damp, forgiving, delicate.

Serves: 8-10   
Takes: 90 mins 


230g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
300g caster sugar
1 orange
3-4 figs (depending on size), cut into ½cm slices
3 large eggs
175g ground almonds
125g semolina
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tbsp orange blossom water


1 Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Grease a 2lb loaf tin before lining it with greaseproof paper.
2 Add 30g of the butter cubes to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Once melted, add 100g of the caster sugar. Finely grate the zest of the orange into a small bowl and keep to one side, then halve the fruit and squeeze the juice of one half into the saucepan, reserving the other half. Stir everything together, leave on the heat for 4-5 mins until it becomes a light syrup, then pour into the bottom of the lined loaf tin.
3 Line the syrupy bottom of the tin with as many of the fig slices as you can in a single layer, going up the sides a little if possible (don’t worry if you have a few slices left).
4 Place the remaining 200g butter cubes in a large mixing bowl with the remaining 200g caster sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy (or use a free-standing mixer if you have one). Beat in the eggs, one at a time; don’t worry if it splits slightly, it’ll come back together. Add the ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and a pinch of salt, and beat until smooth. 
5 Stir the reserved zest and orange blossom water into the batter, and squeeze in the juice from the unused half of the orange. Mix together, then pour the batter into the cake tin, over the sliced figs.
6 Bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 mins until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 
7 Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then gently turn out onto a cooling rack. Peel off the greaseproof paper and let it cool almost completely. It’s perfect served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Read our interview with Georgina Hayden

Published in issue 5 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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