Sep 6, 2018

Figuratively Speaking






It may surprise you to know that when you eat a half-cup of figs you get as much calcium as when you drink a half-cup of milk. Figs are also rich in complex carbohydrates, a good source of dietary fiber and a wealth of essential minerals such as potassium and iron.  Figs actually provide more fiber than any other fruit or vegetable and they are now at peak season.

Figs have provided sustenance for since the beginning of time. Whether the eitz hadas was a fig is debatable, but it is definite that a fig tree provided the first clothing for Odom and Chava.  Figs were probably one of the first fruits to be dried and stored by man.

Fig puree can be used as both a sweetener and a fat substitute in many recipes. Puree 8 ounces of figs in a blender or food processor with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or fruit juice and substitute for 1 cup of sugar.  Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.

Since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of when you are planning on eating them. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.  Be sure to cut each one open to check for insects or worms before eating.

               


3 large green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
8-ounce figs, checked, stemmed and quartered
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

3 tablespoons sweet red wine



crumble:

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces



Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8” or 9-inch baking dish with oil or spray.

Place apples in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with flour and cinnamon, toss to coat. Heat honey, oil and wine until boiling; drizzle over apples. Arrange figs over apples.

For topping combine flour, sugars and cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in margarine until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples and figs. Bake 45-50 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Serve warm.




16 ounces dried figs, stems trimmed and figs coarsely chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons hot water
1⁄2 cup margarine, (one stick) softened
1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg
1 1⁄2 cups flour

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1⁄4 cups old-fashioned oats




Rum Glaze:

½ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 teaspoons orange juice

1 teaspoon rum extract



Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan with cooking spray.       Combine figs, nuts, sugar, juice and hot water in a mixing bowl. 

Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and mix until smooth. Stir in flour and baking soda; blend in oats to make a soft dough. Reserve 1 cup dough and set aside.

With floured fingertips, press a thin layer of remaining dough in bottom of prepared pan. Firmly pat fig mixture over dough. Drop reserved dough by teaspoonfuls over top, allowing fig mixture to show between drops. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into bars and cool completely in pan.

Stir together glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle cooled bars with rum glaze.


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