Moo recently gifted us a log of fig and walnut paste, which I became hooked on immediately. As it’s a big ask to expect him to ship to us regularly from Adelaide, I thought I’d try to find a way to make this at home.
I’ve created my own recipe for this (and am feeling quite chuffed with how well it turned out!), influenced in part by Mark and Bruce’s Fig Cookie filling and in part by our previous attempts at making nougat. The end result is delicious – slightly softer than the commercial product and in Pete’s opinion, better tasting…
- 300g (1¾ cups) Turkish figs
- 200g (2 cups) walnuts pieces
- 25g (5 teaspoons) lemon juice
- 75g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
- 50g (2 US tablespoons or 30ml) honey
1. Chop the figs up coarsely, removing the stems. Place them into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they form a sticky paste.
2. Scrape the paste into a heavy-based non-stick frying pan and add the lemon juice, brown sugar and honey. Stir for a couple of minutes over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the walnuts and continue stirring over a low heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the walnuts have coloured slightly. You want to keep stirring and turning the mixture over until it forms a thick, sticky paste – cook it as long as you can without burning, to allow the sugars to caramelise just slightly. Watch this carefully, we’re only talking about minutes of cooking time, not hours.
3. Line two small loaf tins with parchment paper (although it probably doesn’t matter what you shape these into). Scrape the mix evenly into each tin, flattening out the top with a spatula. Press a sheet of parchment onto the surface, then place an empty loaf tin on top and a weight on top of that to help flatten out the paste. In the photo below, I’ve stacked the first tin into the second, then topped them with an empty third, and weighted it all down with my tub of flour.
4. Allow to cool for several hours, until firm. Remove the parchment paper and slice with a sharp knife. I have my paste wrapped in thick plastic and stored in the pantry, although it would probably keep longer in the fridge.
I adore this fig and walnut paste with a little Picasso sheeps’ cheese and some Italian prosciutto on sourdough bread. Pete has taken to eating chunks of it straight, like a fruit and nut bar. It is indeed quite healthy – basically figs and nuts held together with a little sugar and honey!
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Edit: Pete asked me to make an apricot and almond version for him to eat as a bar. These are the ingredients I used, and he was happy with the result. Same methodology as above.
- 300g dried apricots
- 200g almonds
- 20ml pomegranate molasses
- 75 brown sugar
- splash of water at the start to help the sugar dissolve