The 3 Delicias of the Algarve

While waiting for her flight in Faro airport, on her return trip home from the Algarve, our award winning and much loved grande dame of Guardian Feast @felicitycloake bypassed the traditional pastel de nata for the rather intriguing Bolo misto do Algarve, which the lady behind the counter informed her was almondy and very sweet. As there was a nut allergy on the plane she had to hold her curiosity until she got home. On tasting it she detected a loose marzipan type top and a spicy carob filling beneath.She was almost spot on but had not identified the fig content.The cake like all Portuguese cakes is indeed very sweet. To cut a long story short she posted on instagram asking if anyone knew how this cake was made? I came to the fore having had a similar experience previously, when I myself tasted this cake for the first time. I immediately started searching for a recipe, of which few exist, and with basic knowledge of Portuguese cake making knew that most of the recipes were not this particular cake.
Here is the story of how I first made this cake and how with a nudge from La Cloake have tweeked the recipe and I think improved it.
Back home I tried to "emulate" it. It was not even very difficult as the main ingredients are already part of a healthy Algarvian diet: figs, carob and almonds, the three delicias of the Algarve.Hence the name of the cake, often also known as Bolo mista
I started by doing some research on the web to get some guidance. Eating gives you an idea of what something is made of, but not how it's constructed. Nothing!!!! I found absolutely nothing! One or two people seemed to have tried to make a similar "pie", probably another delicacy from the Algarve that I don't know, but anyone who has tasted and enjoyed the original cake will realise that this is not the recipe.

I made my cake, which I have to say is not just any cake, it is a cake that aspires to slow lazy hours spent in Portuguese pastelarias snacking on delicias and sipping coffee. This rich fig, carob and almond cake is a native recipe to the Algarve region, where carob trees are as abundant as the olives and cork trees.
Early Autumn gives us seasonal figs at their best, so the harvest of fresh figs means there’s jam and cakes for days.This brings me to my next point which is from my research. I was led to believe that the dried figs are soaked over night in water or perhaps licore.The first time I made the cake I explored this route successfully. but as is the case with most of my cooking I tend to move on seeing if I can improve on the recipe and or find labour saving tricks. In its latest incarnation I replaced the soaked figs with an organic fig and ginger compote home made by our friends at monte do alamo outside Tavira.
Bolo Delicias do Algarve ou Bolo Misto do Algarve
This looks very complicated but is really simple to prepare and comes together very quickly
Carob and fig base
4 eggs
3 tablespoons apple purée*
200g dried figs**or fig compote/ jam
100g almond flour (almonds ground into flour)
80g carob flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt

Almond filling
8 tablespoons apple purée*
4 tablespoons of sweetening ingredient of your choice, preferably liquid** ( I used honey )
100g almond flour
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of water (you may need more, depending on the texture of your apple puree)

5 figs for decoration
Almond flour for decoration

*To make the apple purée for the whole recipe I needed 4 small apples. I peeled them, cut them into chunks and simmered them in water with some sugar. I blitzed them with a hand blender until it was a fine purée.
**The whole recipe took about 250g of figs, which means you need more than one 200g packet. If you want, you can replace some of the figs with dates in the carob base, which won't change the recipe or the flavour at all.
** If using dried figs i suggest soaking them overnight in water or licore of your choice, start by moisturising them in warm water for at least half an hour.
***If you choose granulated sugar, bring it to the boil (gently) with the apple purée until it's diluted.

Carob base
I lined a 22cm diameter baking tin with greaseproof paper and greased it. I put the oven on at 180ºC.
In a bowl I put the apple purée, the eggs and the figs broken into pieces (see note**). I blitzed everything with a hand blender (you can use a food processor).
I added the rest of the ingredients (the dry ones) and mixed well.
I poured it into the tin, smoothed it out and baked it in the oven for 8 minutes.
Almond filling
While the carob base was in the oven, I prepared the filling. I mixed the apple purée, eggs, almond flour and sweetener. To make it more fluid, I gradually added some water. I needed 1 tablespoon, but you may need more or less depending on your apple purée.
Greener apples make a better purée.
I poured this granulated almond cream on top of the  part baked carob base (it's not fully cooked), and baked it for a further 45 minutes.
I took it out and left it to coolon a rack before adding the topping.
I halved 5 figs into pieces and put them in a glass with 80ml of hot water for 15 minutes so that they are well hydrated and soft. 
I decorated with more crushed almonds (almond flour).


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