April 2018 Fig Focus

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Happy Holidays with California Figs

The holidays are upon us and we’ve got delicious recipes that will stun your family and friends (and are pretty simple to pull together too). Whether you’re celebrating Easter or Passover, Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs will liven up your holiday table.

Mediterranean Fig & Carrot Bundt Cake Minis 

The Easter Bunny would love to get his paws on one of these carrot cakes – made with a Mediterranean touch and California Figs, orange, olive oil and fragrant spices. You won’t taste the olive oil, but it contributes to the light crumb of these little cakes. Of course, no carrot cake is complete without a cream cheese frosting – this one is sweetened with honey and orange juice and drizzled over the cakes.

Baking Tips:

  • To measure flour, spoon it into a measuring cup and level with a straight edge.
  • Mini Bundt pans come in various sizes with 6, 12 or 18 molds or cups. If you have one with 18, you can use it to make smaller cakes. If you have one 6-cup pan, you can use the remaining batter to make cupcakes. (Line the cupcake pans with paper liners and fill about 2/3 to ¾ full.  If so, use a little less orange juice in the Drizzle to make a thicker frosting to top the cupcakes.)
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Grate orange peel. Combine California Figs with juice.

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Whisk together dry ingredients.

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Beat together wet ingredients.

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Beat cream cheese and butter for frosting.

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Drizzle cooled cakes with Honey Cream Cheese frosting.

Mediterranean Fig & Carrot Bundt Cake Minis

Makes 12 mini Bundt cakes

  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 cups shredded carrot, about 8 ounces (shredded with large holes of box grater)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts

Honey Cream Cheese Drizzle:

  • 6 ounces 1/3 less fat or regular cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice

1. Grate orange peel to make 1 teaspoon zest. Halve orange and ream to make juice. Combine figs and ¼ cup juice in microwave safe bowl (reserve remaining juice for Drizzle); cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat 12 mini-Bundt molds with baking spray or oil. Dust with flour and tap out excess.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves.

4. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs, granulated and brown sugar until blended. Slowly beat in oil, vanilla and orange zest. With spatula, mix in fig mixture and carrots.  Gently fold in dry ingredients, just until combined.

5. Spoon batter into Bundt molds. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Run a thin knife around edges if needed to help release cakes.

6. To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until blended. Beat in honey, vanilla and enough orange juice to make a frosting of drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cakes. Sprinkle with walnuts.


Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Celebrating Easter 

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If this is your first holiday to host or you’re looking for something new this California Fig Glazed Ham recipe is it. You will love how easy it is to make this glazed ham (and the leftovers for later).

Observing Passover

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Make Chicken with Preserved Lemon for your main dish. This Sephardic-inspired preserved lemon chicken is wonderful with mashed potatoes or quinoa to soak up the fragrant sauce.

Make Ready for Mother’s Day with California Figs

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They say April showers bring May flowers. April also gives you ample time to get ready to celebrate your Mom or a Mom-like figure in your life. We suggest California Figs! Their sweetness and texture add delightful flavor and nutrition to whatever kind of feast you’ve got planned. You can never start too early!

Mark your calendars for 04/18 at 4p PT as we go Facebook Live with Renee of Laurel Street Kitchen in our cooking demo series, “California Figs Cook!” She will show you how to make delicious Rhubarb Glazed Fig Pop Tarts, using our Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Figs.   

Pssst! Plus, stay tuned for an easy peasy opportunity to surprise Mom with an all-expenses paid trip to tour America’s Test Kitchen in their new location. The sweepstakes fun starts on April 13– it will be pinteresting and fun! (Hint, hint). Stay tuned to Facebook.

Photo: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Annelies Zijderveld

Nutrition News and Tips


Mighty Micronutrients—Magnesium

Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that magnesium is an under-consumed nutrient. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, choline, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and C are under-consumed. Shifts to increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy can move intakes of these under-consumed nutrients closer to recommendations.

How much magnesium do you need?The amount of magnesium you need depends on your age and sex. The average daily recommended amount for men is 400-420 mg and for women 310-320 mg.

Am I getting enough magnesium? The diets of most people in the United States provide less than the recommended amounts of magnesium. The following groups of people are more likely than others to get too little magnesium:

  • Older people
  • People with type 2 diabetes
  • People with long-term alcoholism
  • People with gastrointestinal diseases

What foods provide magnesium?

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods and is added to some fortified foods. You can get the recommended amounts of magnesium by eating a variety of foods. Some examples are:


1 oz. dry roasted almonds 

½ cup cooked spinach


½ cup figs (also provide fiber, calcium and potassium)

2 slices whole wheat bread  

1 cup avocado 

1 cup plain low fat yogurt

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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