Recipe: Caramelized fig cake with lemon Anglaise

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 8

Note: Adapted from the upcoming cookbook "The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors From the Millennium Restaurant," by Eric Tucker with Bruce Enloe, desserts by Amy Pearce (Ten Speed Press, November 2003). Agave nectar is available at Whole Foods markets. Sucanat is a brand-name, unrefined, granulated sugar, and a powdered egg substitute is used instead of eggs; both, along with almond milk, are available in natural foods stores.

Lemon Anglaise

1 cup soy milk

7/8cup coconut milk

1/4 cup light agave nectar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot

Pinch of turmeric

Pinch of salt

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan until the arrowroot is dissolved. Place over medium heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. The mixture does not need to boil.

2. Remove from heat and let the lemon zest steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Let it cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. ( You can store it, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.)

Fig cake

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons Sucanat

3 cups fresh black Mission figs (about 18 figs), thinly sliced

1/4cup blanched, sliced almonds

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon egg replacer

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2cup almond milk

5 tablespoons light agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry

Finely chopped zest of 1 lemon

Lemon Anglaise

1. Brush a 9-inch round cake pan with 1 teaspoon of the canola oil, and line it with parchment paper. Sprinkle the Sucanat onto the parchment and top with the sliced figs, fanning them out decoratively.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a spice grinder or food processor, grind the almonds to a meal. Place in a bowl. Sift the white flour, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, egg replacer and salt into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the almond milk, agave, remaining 3 tablespoons of canola oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice, sherry and lemon zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the almond mixture and whisk just until smooth.

4. Pour the mixture on top of the figs in the prepared pan. Carefully smooth out the batter with a spatula (being careful not to disturb the fan of figs on the bottom of the pan). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick or small knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert it onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper. (You can store, wrapped tightly, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After 2 days, you will need to rewarm it for the best flavor.)

5. To serve, cut the cake into 8 pieces. Spoon some of the lemon sauce on each plate and place a slice of warm cake on top.

Each serving: 467 calories; 7 grams protein; 85 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 1 mg. cholesterol; 268 mg. sodium.