This uncooked walnut and fig roll is called pan de higo (fig bread) in Spain because that’s what it most closely resembles. Serve it in slices to have with coffee or tea, as a snack for drop-in guests with cheese and sherry, or as an after-dinner flavour hit. You can make it in a food processor, but I like to make it by hand. Dried white figs are best for this recipe, if you can track them down.
- 500 g (2½ cups) dried figs, stems removed
- 100 g (1 cup) walnuts, lightly toasted, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp brandy
- rice flour, to dust
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drying time 3 days
Using a large knife, chop figs until they form a chunky paste. (Just keep slicing through the increasingly sticky mass and you’ll eventually get there).
Place figs in a large bowl with walnuts, spices, honey and brandy. Knead mixture for 4 minutes or until it starts to come together, adding extra brandy if mixture is too dry.
Lightly dust a work surface with rice flour. Shape dough into a 20 cm-long log, then roll in rice flour, to coat.
Wrap log in baking paper and twist ends to seal. Place in a large container with a plate on top, weighed down with a tin. Set aside in a cool, dry place for 3 days to dry out before slicing to serve. Fig roulade will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Photography Alan Benson
As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2013, Issue 27.