With all the dried fruit in the shops for those industrious souls making their Christmas cakes, puddings and mincemeat, I could not resist a few bags of dried figs for some of these old favorites. One of the enduring classics of the biscuit world. No mystery to these fig rolls… just great fun to make and delicious to eat.
For the filling:
7 oz dried figs quartered
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional, but gives the filling a lovely colour)
½ tsp allspice
pinch of salt
For the dough:
4 oz plain flour
4 oz wholemeal flour
3 oz butter
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp milk (probably a bit more)
1 large egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking powder
Put the figs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat with 300ml (1/2 pint) water. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender and the liquid is well reduced. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 mins more until very little liquid remains. Set aside to cool, then puree in a food processor. Let cool completely and refrigerate until set.
Put all the ingredients for the pastry in a food processor and mix, adding more milk a tiny bit at a time until it pulls together as a dough. Wrap your dough tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Pre-heat oven to 175C/350F.
Press the pastry out between two sheets of cling film and roll out to roughly an oblong about (16 x 5 inches). Peel back the top layer of cling film. Spread the fig paste down the centre of the dough rectangle and using the bottom layer of cling film, roll in the sides so that they overlap over the filling.
Trim the ends of the roll, turn the rolls so that the pastry seam is on the bottom and cut into just over one inch wide slices (about 12 fig rolls) and place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a rack.