July 2017 Fig Focus

Summer Celebration

What’s better than Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs and chocolate? California Figs, chocolate AND raspberries! 

We’ve teamed them up in a shortcake dessert that’s perfect for a July 4th party or any summer celebration. Whipped cream enriches and moistens the chocolate shortcakes and is blended with Greek yogurt to make a creamy topping. The topping has a slight tang, just like French crème fraiche.  Halved California Figs steep in a warm berry juice and are mixed with raspberries for a juicy sauce. The portions are small but satisfying.  Serve in shallow bowls or large margarita or other cocktail glasses.

Success Tips:

  • To measure flour and cocoa, spoon them into a measuring cup and level with a straight edge, such as the back of a knife.
  • Rather than adding flour to knead the dough (which can make the shortcakes dry), coat your hands with a little nonstick spray or oil.
  • Make the Yogurt Cream an hour or two before serving and chill – it will firm up nicely.
  • The shortcakes are best freshly baked but can be wrapped well and froze.

Chocolate Shortcakes with California Fig-Raspberry Compote

Ingredients for California Fig-raspberry fruit compote.

Ingredients for chocolate shortcake dough.

Knead dough.

Cut dough into 9 squares.

Split shortcakes and layer with compote; top with yogurt cream.

Chocolate Shortcakes with California Fig-Raspberry Compote

Serves 9

California Fig-Raspberry Compote:

  • 2 cups 100% berry juice such as cranberry-raspberry or cranberry-pomegranate
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste
  • 7-ounces Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and halved
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur such as framboise, or orange liqueur, optional

Shortcakes:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce (scant ¼ cup) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping (optional):

  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Yogurt Cream:

  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat (2%) Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

To make Fig-Raspberry Compote, in a saucepan, whisk together juice, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring to a simmer, whisking often, and simmer for 30 seconds or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in Figs and liqueur.  Add additional sugar, to taste. Cool to room temperature. Chill 2 hours or until serving time.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled foil.

To make shortcakes, in medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate.

Place cream and vanilla in small bowl. Beat with electric mixer to soft peaks. Stir into dry ingredients to make a shaggy dough. (Chill bowl and beaters for making topping – step 7.)

Turn dough out onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. With lightly oiled hands, knead about 10 times, just to form a ball. (Dough will be sticky.) Place dough on parchment-lined sheet. Pat to a 5-inch square. With oiled knife, cut into 9 squares.  Separate squares allowing about 1-inch between each. If desired, brushed tops with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake cakes for 10 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack.

While shortcakes bake, make Yogurt Cream. In chilled bowl, combine yogurt, 1/3 cup whipping cream, 1 ½ tablespoons sugar and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla.  Beat with electric mixer to soft peaks.  Cover and chill until serving time.

To serve, shortcakes, stir raspberries into Compote. Spoon a little Compote on bottom of serving dishes. Split shortcakes in half lengthwise. Place bottom half over Compote. Top with a small spoonful of Compote and Yogurt Cream. Cover with top half of cakes and a small dab of the Cream.  Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

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.

Summer’s Sizzling: Watch How to Cook with California Figs

Summer is officially here and that means grilling, eating outdoors, and getting together with friends at picnics and potlucks. Our California Figs are soaking up the sun too. You will love our two opportunities full of fresh ideas of how to incorporate California Figs into your summer cooking.

Join us this month on Facebook where our California Figs will be LIVE in two cooking demos. First up, fellow Fresno resident and food blogger Debra at Bowl Me Over will be spicing things up with a chicken dish you won’t want to miss on July 12 at 2p PT. Next, on July 19 at 4p PT, Jenni of Pastry Chef Online is going to show you how to make an ice cream with fig swirl– no machine required! Mark those dates / times then head over to our Facebook page with any questions to ask during the live cooking experience.

PHOTO credit: Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream with California Fig Swirl by Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online 

Count on California Figs — Nutrition Tips and Tidbits for Summer Vacations

When it comes to summer vacations, healthy eating can be a bit challenging. Here are a few tips to eat right and keep your food safe while on vacation:

  • Eat small portions of lots of different foods and share dishes at restaurants. You don’t have to avoid high calorie foods. Enjoy—you’re on vacation.
  • Keep active. If you’re driving, plan some stops along the way to get out and walk.
  • Watch how much alcohol you drink. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories.
  • Pack some healthy car snacks. Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs are perfect.

Pack a cooler with cut up fruits and vegetables, low fat cheese sticks, yogurt and bottles of water. If you can, keep the cooler in the car, instead of the trunk. The temperature in the cooler should stay at 40 degrees F. or lower.

  • Don’t let perishable foods sit unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Keep hands clean. Remember to wash or clean hands often.

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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