Anton’s Fig & Date Ricotta Cake

Ingredients
· 250g (8 oz) of soft unsalted butter,

· 250g (8 oz) caster sugar,

· 8 eggs,

· 2 oranges,

· 3 lemons,

· 125g (5 oz) roasted pinenuts,

· 200g (7oz) of chopped dried dates,

· 200 g (7oz) chopped dried figs,

· 275g (9 oz) ricotta,

· 75g (3 oz) plain flour.

· For the syrup;

· 125g (5oz) sugar,

· 125g (5oz) water,

· 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary,

· 1oz (25g) of toasted pine nuts,

· 1oz (25g) dried fig (fresh if you can get it)

Preparation method
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/356ºF or Gas Mark 4. Grease a 12” x 2” / 30cm x 5cm spring form cake tin sparingly with vegetable oil.

2. Place the soft unsalted butter and 250g (8 oz) caster sugar in a large mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon, cream until pale and fluffy.

3. Separate the egg yolks into the mixture, one by one, beating well between each addition.

4. Place the finely grated zest of the oranges and lemons, into a separate mixing bowl and add 125g (5 oz) roasted pinenuts, the chopped dried dates, 200 g (7oz) chopped dried figs and the ricotta and mix well together.

5. Fold the butter and egg mix into the ricotta mixture and sift the plain flour into this mix and combine.

6. In a large bowl, using a whisk beat 2 egg whites into soft peaks. Fold in one large spoonful of egg whites into the ricotta mix. Once this is well mixed, carefully fold in the remainder, ensuring that you do not lose too much of the air.

7. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until the tip of a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

8. While the cake is cooling, put 125g (5oz) sugar and the water into a small saucepan over a medium heat and reduce. Add the sprigs of fresh rosemary and infuse.

9. Spike the cooled cake all over with a fork and dribble with the rosemary syrup.

10. Garnish with 1oz (25g) of toasted pine nuts, 1oz (25g) of thinly sliced dried fig and sprigs of rosemary.

11. Anton's tip: For diabetics substitute 100g of caster sugar for 4 tablespoons of Splenda granulated sweetener