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Pan De Higos (fig cake) & a quick, fresh fig recipe

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Pan De Higos (fig cake) & a quick, fresh fig recipe

petradish | Aug 26, 2005 02:38 AM

I've forgotten who was asking for this recipe a few months back, but it's something I've wondered about making too. It's basically a pressed fig paste, something to enjoy along with cheese like you would quince paste. Maybe another hound could comment further on its uses in Spanish cuisine (attn: Butterfly).

Recently I found this recipe in Janet Mendel's My Kitchen in Spain (2002). She talks about how figs are dried in the Spanish sun, packed into woven baskets with flavorings, and tightly squeezed into a compressed mass. Ms. Mendel makes her cakes into log shapes and sometimes adds a bit of melted chocolate. She says her rolls are more delicate than a lot of the boozy, heavily anise-flavored cakes and more akin to a cookie-less Fig Newton. So, a point of departure...? They keep for months.

I also found a passing mention of Pan de Higos in Colman Andrews' Catalan Cuisine (1988), so I'll throw his comments in the mix too. (FYI Andrews co-founded Saveur magazine). Haven't taken the plunge myself yet but if you've got the dried figs and the inclination, here it is:

2 lbs dried figs, remove stems
4 T confectioners' sugar
1 c blanched & skinned almonds
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t aniseeds, ground
1/4 t black pepper, ground
1/4 t ground ginger
grated lemon zest
3 squares (3 OZ) semisweet chocolate, melted (Optional)
1/4 c anise brandy, brandy, or sweet wine
3 T sesame seeds, toasted
*see notes below for other ideas (ie. bay leaf)

Cover figs with 2 T of conf. sugar. Either chop them in a food processor or food grinder. Makes about 6 c of fig pulp. Put in a bowl.

Take 16 almonds and put aside. Chop up the remainder & add to the bowl of figs.

In another bowl mix the remaining 2 T confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, aniseeds, pepper, ginger, & lemon zest. Add this the fig mixture.

Add the optional chocolate and the anise brandy. Mix & knead together with your hands until well blended.

Separate the mixture into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a log shape, approx. 6" long & 1.5" thick.

Sprinkle sesame seeds onto some wax paper and roll the logs over the seeds, patting & flattening them slightly. Take the reserved almonds (4 per log) and press into the top of each.

Allow the logs to dry for 12 hours & then wrap them firmly in plastic wrap.

Cut them into 1/2" disks to serve.

*ADDITIONAL NOTES from Coleman Andrews's book:
Mentions the dried fig cakes of Priorat, which are pressed with aniseed & bay leaves. He then gives a very simple & fresh recipe that goes as follows:

Figues amb Aniset (figs with anisette)

2.5-3 lbs of fresh figs
anisette

Peel figs (gently) & halve lengthwise. Drizzle anisette over the cut side of figs and serve.

Place figs on 4 plates and serve.

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