Rustic Mediterranean Fig Cookies : Perfect coastal delicacy.
Fresh figs, all their varieties, are my favourite late summer fruit. Mediterraneans appreciate this fruit on their special way. Fresh figs fed generations of islanders during the wars, hungers and travels. When making winter stocks, peasants were drying them on the sun to keep them for peon lunches and Christmas gifts as well. Figs dried that way had very special flavor because of salty air they were exposed to and, once dried, wrapped in bay leaves and kept in the pantry.
Imagine to have few dry figs and a glass of red wine now and some goat cheese aside. It would be a festival of flavours, right ? Only a century ago, it was almost the only food available, not stellar at all.
Later on, dried figs were used as an ingredient for Christmas sweets, egg free, in most of the cases.
My family maintains the tradition of eating dry fruits during winter and I have become aware of it when I split to have my own, doing the same thing.
Now, these cookies are slightly modified ( or should I say “updated”) old recipe; basically, I added baking powder, sugar and vanilla, being careful to maintain the ratio of dry and wet ingredients. Lemons and honey were available back then. Sugar has always been a hard one to get. Anyway, I really hope you will love these little retro cookies garnished with herbs also specific for the beautiful, beautiful coast sides.
- 2 cups flour, all purpose
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 8 Tbsp milk (dairy or non - dairy)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 8 fresh figs, unpeeled
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp honey
- Lemon zest to taste
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tsp corn starch
- Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder on a work surface and add butter and milk.
- Knead to get even texture dough.
- Wrap it in the foil and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, take medium sized pot to prepare the figs spread.
- Mash the figs with fork, add lemon juice vanilla extract, honey and corn starch.
- Mix well continuously and boil on medium heat for 3 minutes. At the end, add lemon zest to taste.
- Leave aside, away from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C / 392 F.
- Take the dough out and roll it on a flat working surface to be 4 mm / 0.16 inch thick.
- Cut the rounded shapes. Mine had 3 inches in diameter.
- Place the cookies on a sheet pan covered with baking paper.
- Place 1 tsp of fig spread in the center of each cookie and bake for 14 minutes.
- When baked and cooled, garnish with herbs that match the figs ( thyme, basil or mint ).