Updated: Apr 28, 2019
My dad's old friend, Lyutvi, had a small saffron patch on his land on the outskirts of Baku.
The harvesting of the petals has always been a fascinating story to me. I often imagined how Lyutvis kids helped him pluck the tiny delicate petals off and collect them into jars.
120g butter, room temperature(I used salted) 150g caster sugar 3 eggs 1/2 vanilla bean seeds ( save the other half for next time, I keep mine in a sugar container. It makes the sugar smell delicious) Pinch of saffron , ground to powder ( I ground mine in small pestle and mortar with a spoon of sugar) Zest of orange (medium size) 3 tbsp (60ml) orange juice 100g almond meal 120g self raising flour * 5-6 medium size fresh figs, cut into halves or quarter
Preheat oven to 160C fan forced. Grease and line with baking paper a 22cm cake pan or a tart tin. Cream butter and sugar using electric beaters. Add 1 egg at a time beating well between additions and scraping the sides of the bowl with spatula. Add vanilla bean seeds, saffron powder and orange zest and beat to mix them in. Add the orange juice and mix well. Using a spatula fold in the almond meal and flour. Move the mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange fig halves or quarters over the top slightly pressing them down into the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until golden on top and cake is cooked through. Enjoy with cream or thick sweetened with honey yoghurt, or a dollop of mascarpone.