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goat cheese, fig and walnut apéro cake


We're planning a trip to France 🇫🇷  this summer and of course I'm already thinking about the restaurants we will try and the meals, including apéro that we will be enjoying during our visit.  My husband and I are  going to the wedding of a dear friend in the South of France, in Antibes to be precise.  We are staying by the outdoor market which is wonderful, I visited the market a few years ago.  We will be surrounded by bakeries and cheese shops as well as assorted take away food emporiums.  Of course I had to take a small apartment in the middle of the old town which has many outdoor places to sip Rosé🍷  while nibbling on appetizers or apéro as they say in France, which sounds delightful.  

I made this savory quick bread or cake inspired by Dorie Greenspan from The NY Times, so we could practice apéro -savoring small bites of thick sliced bread with glasses of crisp cold white wine- before dinner at home in Northern California before our trip this summer to the south of France.  I played around with the recipe, both changing measurements and adding a few additional ingredients, so here is my goat cheese, fig and walnut cake adaption.  I used Stonehouse Organic Olio Nuovo or new oil, the first olive oil off the press each year, it is bright green, full bodied with a fresh peppery finish.  I'm very happy with my creation and I hope you enjoy 😉 too.

Ingredients for Recipe for Goat Cheese, Fig and Walnut Apéro Cake
Serves 8

4 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
1 small tangerine, zested
6 dried Mission figs from California, stems removed and cut into small bits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh herbs; parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint
1&3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, at room temperature 
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 350F and butter or spray a large loaf pan (8 or 9 inches).
Cut the cold goat cheese into small cubes and gently toss them with the grated zest, set aside.
Toss together the figs, walnuts and fresh herbs, set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and honey.
Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir with a heavy spatula until just mixed.
Gently stir in the goat cheese and fig mixture until just mixed.
Spread the dough into the prepared pan.
Bake for 36-38 minutes or until cake is browned and pulling away from sides of the pan.
Test the cake with a cake tester that comes away clean, try not to drag it through any melted goat cheese.
Wait about 5 minutes then unmold the cake and continue to cool on a metal rack.
Cut into thick slices and serve, either slightly warm or at room temperature.
Keep the cake well wrapped and it will last for a few days on the counter.


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