Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
Christine McFadden with students
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Recipes Dorset Foodie figs Spanish ingredients South West
Spanish recipes Pan de Higo Dorset Foodie South West
Fig bread Spanish recipe Dorset Foodie South West
Learn new recipe fig bread Dorset Foodie South West

Pan de Higo (Spanish Fig Bread)

This isn't actually bread, but more of a gorgeous dense paste of dried figs, nuts and spices, pressed into a log for slicing. It's easy to make, needs no baking, but you do need to allow 2–3 days for drying. Once dried it will keep for 3-4 weeks in an airtight container.
Serve it thinly sliced with olives, a dribble of honey perhaps, and Manchego or a hard sheep cheese such as Ford Farm Crofter.
This version of Pan de Higo is adapted from a recipe given to me by Dorset's baking diva, Lizzie Crow aka The Baking Bird.
Serves 10–12, thinly sliced

soft dried figs 500g (see Cook's notes below)
aniseed or fennel seeds ½ tsp
black peppercorns ½ tsp
skinless almonds (preferably Marcona) 150g
skinless hazelnuts 150g
sugar ½ tsp
lemon finely grated zest of ½
ground cinnamon ½ tsp
ground cloves ¼ tsp
plain chocolate (preferably 85% cocoa solids) 30g, melted
brandy or oloroso sherry 2 tbsp

1) Snip the hard stems off the figs, then cut the figs in half (see Cook's notes below).

2) Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the aniseeds and peppercorns to release their essential oils.

3) Put the almonds and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.

4) Add the halved figs, sugar, lemon zest and all the spices. Whiz for 2-3 minutes until you have a well combined paste. (You will probably need to break up the paste now and then.)

5) Pour in the melted chocolate and the brandy. Give it a final whiz to mix.

6) Scrape the paste onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. Mould it into a long log, about 6cm diameter. Slice in half crossways to make two shorter logs.

7) Tightly wrap each log in a piece of baking parchment, twisted at the ends to close. Put in a suitable container (a square cake tin, or plastic box) and top with a plate weighed down with food cans or other heavy objects. Leave to dry in a cool airy place for two or three days.

8) Serve in thin slices with cheese, olives and a glass of sherry.

Cook's notes
• You will need ready-to-eat or no-soak soft dried figs, rather than the hard
type that need soaking.
• If you value your food processor, be sure to cut the figs in half, otherwise
you risk over-working the motor.


Recipe © Christine McFadden 2016

    Photography: Christine McFadden    
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