If you read the previous post about smelly prawn smells, rest assured, you can breathe deeply now because I have managed to neutralise the odour somewhat by baking a batch of figgy pastries. They are called Fig Bars, but I actually prefer to rename them Fruit Pillows because they remind me of a biscuit I used to eat all the time.
I loved Arnotts Fruit Pillows as a kid. It was one of those things I could never have just one piece of. The main reason was nothing more complex than the fact that I loved the name. Fruit Pillows conjured up images of beds constructed entirely of biscuits with soft marshmallow quilts and pastry pillows. It was with this in mind that I got really excited when I saw Sherry Yard’s recipe for Fig Bars, which look just like Fruit Pillows : cookies consisting of a fruity-jammy interior, enveloped by a short biscuit layer.
This recipe is a cinch and a very rewarding one. The pastry is crisp and not too sweet, allowing the flavour of the figs to really stand out. I veered from the recipe slightly by using an apple and blackcurrant juice instead of straight apple juice. Also, if you want to, you can even reduce the amount of sugar in the fig mixture to make it an even healthier snack – one you might find yourself making again and again, with varying flavours (other dried fruit like raisins and cranberries or even dates, might be nice). That is, as long as you don’t make silly mistakes like going off to watch tv during the final stages of the fig-simmering process, thus allowing it to scorch the bottom of the pan, forcing you to start all over again! No prizes for guessing who that happened to!
Fig Bars are my contribution to Sarah’s Tastes to Remember event.
Fig Bars :
(from Desserts by the Yard, by Sherry Yard)
For the fig filling:
1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest
For the cookie dough:
113g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
Make the filling: Combine the chopped figs, water, apple juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1 to 2 hours, until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.
Transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool.
Make the dough: Cream together the butter, vanilla sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg white and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 176’C. Line trays with baking paper.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the lined baking trays, seam side down. (At this point the fig bars can be frozen for up to 2 weeks, wrapped airtight).
Using a serrated knife, slice each log ont the diagonal into ten cookies. Bake, rotating the baking trays from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through, for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack. (The bars will keep, stored airtight, for 2 days).