One very vivid sense memory from my preschool days was tasting a Fig Newton for the first time and discovering the filling was fig — not the chocolate fudge it appeared to be. While I was disappointed the filling was not chocolate, I found flavor of the fig strangely exotic. Naturally, I liked Fig Newtons more and more as I got older.
Last year there seemed to be a renewed interest in figs. In every food magazine, there they were — fig this, fig that. Which is not to say the recipes didn’t look good, I just wasn’t so into figs. I’m still not, but for some reason I tried this recipe anyway and am happy I did.
I subbed half Craisins for half of the figs, but the figs/Craisin combo gave this filling the perfect taste and texture. The texture was soft and juicy and I suppose all the boiling and baking cooked out whatever it is in figs that makes me gag a little.
Cooking Light’s Fig Bars
1 package dried figs or 1 3/4 cups chopped figs — (8-ounce)
1/2 cup port wine (used orange juice)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons chilled butter — cut into pieces
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove stems from figs; discard stems. Coarsely chop figs. Combine figs,
wine, and juice in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, until figs are tender and most of
liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
Place fig mixture in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon into a
bowl; cool completely.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place
flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor; process until oats
are finely ground. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse
meal. Add egg white; pulse to combine. Firmly press half of crumb mixture
into an 8-inch square pan coated with cooking spray. Spread fig mixture
over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture; press gently.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Yield: 25 servings
Note: Used half figs/half Craisins. Used all orange juice instead of Port