Evening in Coburg. The back door is open. Someone is singing their prayers; their voice floats in on the night. A train hoots low as it approaches the crossing. The bells ring.
There is a sudden thump, and a shake, and a rustle. The fruit bats are visiting our fig tree. As they lumber through the branches, feasting as they go, they meet each other and voice their claims in outraged squeaks.
Each morning, we wake to a fresh crop of butchered figs littering the ground. Late afternoon, we put up the ladder and fetch our crop for the day, a dozen or so fruit newly ripened by the sun. Each evening, the bats come back and demolish what we could not reach, and so the cycle of life continues.
We have been eating fresh figs, baked figs, figs galore. And for dessert, fig and almond clafouti. The almond meal make this a very moist, very rich dish. If you want a drier, firmer dish, substitute coconut flour for half the almond meal; or, if you have no problem with gluten, white flour. However you make it, it is a truly figgy pudding – and absolutely delish!
Fig and Almond Clafouti
- 15 to 20 ripe black figs
Grease a 10” ceramic tart dish or skillet. Behead the figs, then halve or quarter them and lay them in the dish.
Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla essence, sugar, almond meal and salt together. You can use a blender or a whisk – either way, aim for frothy. Pour this mixture over the figs.
Sprinkle a generous handful of flaked almonds over the top. Slide the dish into the oven, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, and leave to cool and set for at least ten minutes before slicing. Serve warm or cold.
Very good for breakfast!
(Backyard: figs, eggs. Victoria: almond meal, almonds, milk, butter, salt. Imported, but fair trade and organic: coconut sugar, vanilla essence.)