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I still had a few figs to use and we now have harvested the walnuts and have a few hundred, a huge wicker basket full. So, what else to do but think of a nice recipe that combines the two and I came across a version of this one in an old calendar of all places. My biggest challenge was finding buttermilk in France. It turned out to be easy once I realised that it was called fermented milk or “lait fermenté” and not “lait battu” as I remembered from my childhood. Maybe the name has changed? When pouring the batter into the cupcake holders, I always use an ice cream scoop. They are the perfect size and it is much easier than trying to judge quantities. The cupcakes are excellent as is and we ate several like that but I also wanted to serve some as dessert for a dinner I was hosting and wanted to make them special. So, I made a salted caramel sauce to pour over them; delicious. Real salted caramel takes lots of patience, time, precise temperatures and I am not a fan of any of the above so this is my version of a quick but equally delicious type. No one will even know (unless you tell them) that this is a quick and easy version. I always use unsalted butter and rather add more or less fleur de sel myself. (recipe below)

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Makes 20

Ingredients:

240g / 2 cups flour
10ml / 2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
240g / 2 cups sugar
230g / 1 cup soft butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
250ml / 1 cup buttermilk
250ml / 1 cup fresh figs, chopped
100g / 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
Place cupcake paper holders in each muffin tin
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy
Fold in the eggs
Gradually beat in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk
Mix until well incorporated
Fold in the figs and walnuts
Pour the batter into the cupcake holders
Bake about 25 minutes
Leave to completely cool
Enjoy!

Salted caramel sauce:

Ingredients:

75g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
50g / ¼ cup light brown sugar
50g / ¼ cup castor sugar
50g / ¼ cup golden syrup
125ml / ½ cup thick cream
1 teaspoon flour de sel

Preparation

Melt butter, sugars and syrup in a heavy bottomed pan
Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes
Add cream
Add half a teaspoon of fleur de sel – Not table salt
Taste ,(be careful, it will be VERY hot), to see if you want more salt
Pour into a jug
Enjoy!

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