A biscuit recipe twice in as many weeks. We’re on a roll! This week, I’ve made a batch of delicious fig rolls… nothing like those dry horrors you tend to get in the shops. The pastry is buttery, crumbly and melt in the mouth; the filling is sweet, figgy and boozy – just lovely!
Jacobs is the brand that most people in the UK associate with fig rolls. Americans have Fig Newtons and the French, Figolu.
There’s a fair amount of debate online on the subject of, “Fig rolls: slice before or after baking?”. I decided to conduct my own experiment to find out.
I’ve decided that I prefer them to be sliced before. The pastry is neater and the fig filling softly oozes using this method.
Disagree with my opinion? Have a look at my photographic proof below! The two on the left were sliced prior to cooking and the pair on the right, after.
If you’ve given industrially manufactured fig rolls a try, not liked them and have turned your back on them – try making your own. Believe me, you’ll wonder what took you so long to embrace them!
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- 75g/2⅔oz plain wholemeal flour
- 25g/¾oz ground almonds
- ½tsp baking powder
- 2tsp caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 140g/5oz cold butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk
- 2tbsp milk
- 200g/7oz dried figs, stems removed, roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2tbsp dark rum
- 2tbsp water
- 2tbsp muscovado sugar
- ½tsp mixed spice
- 1 egg, beaten
- In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl or food processor
- Pulse/rub in the butter to make crumbs
- Mix in the egg yolk and just enough milk to bring it together into a coherent dough
- shape into a rough rectangle, wrap and chill for about ½ an hour
- In a small saucepan, bring the figs 2 tbsp water, 2tbsp dark rum, lemon juice, sugar and spice to a simmer. Cook gently for a few minutes until softened
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pastry out to around 20cmx30cm and ½cm thick. Cut in half lengthwise to make 2 long strips
- Put a line of filling down one side of each, leaving a slight gap between it and the edge
- Brush the edge with water and fold the pastry over the top of the filling pressing down gently to seal
- Cut into 4cm lengths and arrange on the baking sheet
- Brush the tops with beaten egg before baking for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating
Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.
One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.
Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.
Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!
Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.
- 100g/3½oz dried figs
- 100ml/3½ fl oz water
- 60g/2oz walnuts
- 175g/6oz ground almonds
- 3 large eggs
- 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
- Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
- Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
- Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
- Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
- Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
- Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
- Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
- Cool on a wire rack before eating
- You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks