"A chef from Puglia once told me how farmers from the area would burn the remaining grain and seed on the land after they'd finished with their crop – this helped fertilise the soil for the next crop," says Jaclyn Koludrovic. "The peasants would glean the leftover grains and seeds from the field and use them in their bread and pasta-making, the result being beautiful smoky and nutty flavours. Toasting flour for a sponge cake likewise results in a lovely nutty and savoury flavour here. Fresh figs, lightly grilled, are lovely in season, too." Start this recipe a day ahead to soak the figs.
- 80 gm plain flour, sifted three times
- 4 eggs
- 115 gm caster sugar
- Raw caster sugar, for dusting
- 250 gm dried figs (see note)
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 375 ml prosecco
- 1 tbsp chardonnay vinegar
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
- ½ rosemary sprig
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 150 gm mascarpone
- 20 gm pure icing sugar, sifted
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 300 gm thickened cream
- 1For preserved figs, place figs in a bowl. Bring remaining ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, then pour over the figs. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate to infuse (1 day). Figs will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.
- 2Preheat oven to 200°C. Scatter flour evenly in the base of a deep oven tray and dry-roast until dark golden (12-15 minutes). Cool.
- 3Reduce oven to 170°C. Line a 24cm x 34cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper. Whisk eggs in an electric mixer to combine, then add sugar and whisk until pale, thick and tripled in volume. Sift in flour and gently fold it in, then spread batter evenly in prepared tin and bake until sponge has risen and springs back when lightly touched (5-7 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes.
- 4Sprinkle a large sheet of baking paper placed on a larger piece of foil with raw caster sugar. Invert cake onto sugar, remove tray, then peel off baking paper. Cover with a tea towel.
- 5For lemon mascarpone, stir mascarpone, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl to combine. Add cream and whisk to firm peaks. Refrigerate until needed.
- 6Drain half the figs well on paper towels and finely chop, reserving remaining in syrup to serve. Spread cream evenly over sponge and sprinkle with chopped figs, pressing into cream. Rolling away from you, and using the foil to help lift and roll over, roll the roulade into a log shape. Twist ends of foil to secure and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours, or overnight).
- 7Serve roulade sliced with reserved figs and some syrup. Roulade will keep refrigerated for 4-5 days.
Jaclyn Koludrovic uses Iranian dried figs, which are available from select Middle Eastern delicatessens, specialty grocers and health-food shops. If they're unavailable, substitute another dried fig.