Roasted figs, vanilla sponge, goats’ cheese curd, olive oil jelly

Roasted figs, vanilla sponge, goats’ cheese curd, olive oil jelly

Paris Pastry Club
Helen Cathcart

This dessert is more than you could believe. Warm roasted figs on a pillow of fresh goats’ cheese curd, with the crunch of pine nuts and my absolute favourite: olive oil jelly bits.

It is a stunner for an autumn dinner party when figs are to be seen everywhere.

For the vanilla sponge


Quantity Ingredient
20g polenta
1 tablespoon plain flour
55g almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
75g caster sugar
3 vanilla pods, seeded
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
50g olive oil

For the roasted figs

Quantity Ingredient
6 figs, cut in half
80g butter, cut into cubes
honey, to drizzle

For the goats’ cheese curd

Quantity Ingredient
250g goats’ cheese
100g whipping cream
70g icing sugar

For the olive oil jelly

Quantity Ingredient
2 gelatine leaves
50g water
80g caster sugar
10g glucose syrup
100g extra-virgin olive oil

For the toasted pine nuts

Quantity Ingredient
125g pine nuts
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. The olive oil jelly

    Soak the gelatine leaves in ice-cold water.
  2. Bring the water, sugar and glucose syrup to the boil in a small pan. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in.
  3. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking with a hand whisk or an immersion blender as you do so. Pour into a container and chill for at least a couple of hours.
  4. The toasted pine nuts

    Heat a small frying pan over high heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until fragrant and golden, stirring at all times.
  5. Take off the heat, add the olive oil and the salt, shake well and tip into a bowl to cool down.
  6. The vanilla sponge

    Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 1 litre loaf tin with baking paper. In a small bowl, mix the polenta, flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, caster sugar, vanilla seeds and extract for a minute. Sprinkle with the flour mixture and whisk for another minute.
  8. Take a third of this mix and whisk vigourously with the olive oil, until smooth, then fold back into the batter.
  9. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 30–40 minutes or until golden-brown and the point of a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool down slightly, then unmould.
  10. The roasted figs

    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Arrange the figs, cut-side up on a baking tray and place a small piece of butter onto each. Drizzle with honey and bake for around 18 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.
  11. The curd

    Whisk all of the ingredients together for around 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Keep refrigerated until needed.
  12. To serve

    To serve, spoon a big dollop of goats’ cheese curd onto the left-hand side of 4 dessert plates and use a spoon to drag it around the edge of the plate. Arrange 3 roasted fig halves on the curd.
  13. Use your fingers – because that’s how it should always be – to crumble the cake into rough 4 cm pieces and place 3 pieces and some crumbs onto the plate. Sprinkle with a small handful of pine nuts. Stir the olive oil jelly to loosen it and spoon little dollops here and there.
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