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Fig and nut cakes

Give something a little different as a Christmas gift and make these healthy fig and nut cakes. Just cook it, pack it and wrap it!

Serves Makes 4 cakes (each serves 6)

Prep Time 20 min + drying

Cooking Time 8 min

Ingredients

  • 250g blanched whole almonds or walnut halves
  • 1kg dried figs, stalks removed and cut into quarters
  • 2tbsp icing sugar or runny honey
  • 1tsp aniseed or fennel seeds
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼tsp ground cloves
  • ¼tsp ground ginger
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1–2tbsp brandy
  • You’ll also need

  • 4 small empty camembert boxes
  • 2 rice paper sheets (28x18cm)
  • Waxed paper, labels and string, for wrapping

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Spread the nuts over a baking tray and roast until lightly browned (walnuts will take about 5 min; almonds 7–8 min). Set aside to cool.
  2. Pulse the figs with the sugar or honey in a food processor until the mixture comes together in a ball, but don’t reduce to a paste.
  3. Set aside 100g of the roasted nuts and chop the remainder into small, chunky pieces. Grind all the spices together in a pestle and mortar to form a fine powder.
  4. Tip the fig mixture into a large mixing bowl, then add the chopped nuts, spices and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands, adding enough brandy to bind everything together.
  5. Using the bottom half of a camembert box as a template, cut out 4 discs of rice paper. Line each box base with clingfilm, leaving the edges overhanging, then put in a disc of rice paper. Divide the cake mixture into 4 equal amounts, then press firmly into each box base and flatten the top. Press the reserved whole nuts into the top of each cake.
  6. Remove the cakes from their boxes, discard the clingfilm and leave to dry on a wire rack for 24 hours.
  7. To wrap, line the inside of the camembert boxes with waxed paper, leaving enough overhang to fold over the cakes. Add the cakes, fold over the paper, then add the lids. Write the instructions (see instructional label) on a label and attach with string.
  8. Instruction label: Known as pan de higo, this Spanish pressed fig and nut cake is traditionally served with thin slices of manchego, but try it with any cheese you fancy. Keeps for about a month.

Nutrition per serving

Read more on how we calculate nutrition.
166kcal 3.7g 6.5g 0.5g 5.2g 24.3g 0.1g 133mg 24.5g 2.2mg

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