Everyone’s grandparents have a biscuit tin, right? When I were a lad (younger), we’d visit my grandparents’ house every Sunday morning at 11am sharp – just in time for tea. There, we’d sit down and fetch the biscuit tin and a glass of fruit juice. To be found inside the tin was a plethora of biscuits, the varieties of which changed from week to week. Ever present, however, would be a packet of fig rolls – fig newtons to you of an American persuasion – and, as such, they have always held a special place in my heart. Then again, perhaps it’s just that fig rolls have a rather wonderful flavour. Either way, here’s my recipe.
Looking at a fig roll it’s difficult to appreciate how very simple a biscuit they are to make. Ok, they’re clearly not a mix, spoon and bake job like cookies, but they aren’t exactly complicated either. If you strip fig rolls back to basics, all they are is some fig paste wrapped in a buttery shell of shortcrust pastry. The fig paste couldn’t be easier and if you can’t make shortcrust then why are you here? You really ought to be here…
The best thing about following a recipe like this and making your own fig rolls is that the real figgy flavour is allowed to resonate. It’s dark, sticky appeal isn’t lost to myriad preservatives, additives and what-have-you. No, boiled down into a thick jam with a little honey and olive oil and processed until more or less smooth, the figs in this recipe really shine through. Enjoy.
1 ball of shortcrust pastry
200g dried figs, roughly chopped
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
Follow the link above for instructions on how to make your shortcrust pastry. While your pastry is chilling bring your figs, honey, oil and water to a brisk simmer.
With the lid off, cook until reduced into a thick jam – around 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a food processor and blending until smooth.
Once the pastry has been chilling for 20 minutes, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll into an oblong of roughly 40cm by 15cm. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C (fan).
Spread the figgy mixture lengthways down the centre of your pastry, taking up a third of its width. Fold one side of the pastry over the figs – but not beyond – followed by the other.
Slice the uncooked biscuits cleanly into sections of around 2 inches. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool a little before eating.
Cost: As I impressed upon you in my previous fig-based recipe, dried figs are incredibly cheap at as little as £2.30 per 500g. The maths buffs among you will know that this translates to roughly 90p for 200g. A little honey and olive oil won’t break the bank either, let alone the rather frugal shortcrust pastry. Indeed, all of the wonderful components combine to make as many as 16 fig rolls for as little as £1.40.
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