I'm having a hard time letting go of summer. Tomatoes continue to ripen in my garden and I continue to make Insalata Caprese, for as long as I can, savoring what I know are dwindling, end-of-season heirlooms. I just purchased a beautifully ripe cantaloupe and will make one last salad of Cantaloupe, Sopressata Salami, and Chives for this year. And when I saw black missions figs at the local Whole Foods I quickly grabbed a carton, knowing I may not see them on my next visit. I spent a cool and rainy afternoon baking Financiers à la Figues while greedily popping the remaining fresh figs into my mouth. Yes... it's almost time to kiss good-bye my routine of gathering much of our dinner from the garden. Other than the cabbages that will find their way into fall soups and the beets that will be cleaned and stored in the refrigerator for roasting, it's over until next year... now if I can only remember to record my successes and failures (note to self -- do not plant the same variety of cucumbers next spring!).
And now the news! I am extremely proud to announce that Food & Wine has included, in their November issue, an article on my kitchen and me. Surprise doesn't adequately describe my reaction when the magazine contacted me this past summer. I feel very honored that Food & Wine found both my kitchen and LivingTastefully worthy of publication. And may I say, they were a pleasure to work with throughout this process.
Italy to Brooklyn, Fig by Fig by Melissa Clark
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing the pan
• 1 1/4 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
• 1/2 cup almond meal
• 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
• Pinch of salt
• 4 large eggs whites (to equal 1/2 cup), room temperature
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 Ripe figs, ends trimmed and each sliced into 3 rounds
PREHEAT OVEN to 400˚F
1. Butter and flour nine 1/2-cup muffin cups. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns brown. Remove from heat and pour butter through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Let cool.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the almond meal, flour, and salt. Add the egg whites and using the whisk attachment to the mixer, beat until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the melted butter and whisk on medium-high until the mixture is smooth; about two minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. (At this point, the batter may be refrigerated for up to four days.)
4. Distribute the batter evenly between the nine muffin cups. Gently press a fig slice in the center of each financier. Place the muffin pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes. Let the financiers cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding.
HONEYED RICOTTA: Combine 1 cup of whole milk ricotta with 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey. Sprinkle with freshly-ground black pepper and gently mix to combine. Serve alongside a Financier à la Figue.
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