It’s finally starting to feel less winter-y here in Minnesota – wahoo! I can see some of the actual street and go outside without four layers on. One thing that can be said of Minnesotans – we complain about winter, but we REALLY take advantage of spring and summer.
What does this have to do with fig bars, you ask? Not really anything, though I am thinking of sitting outside and eating one.
- 8 ounces dried figs, stemmed and quartered (I used Mission figs)
- 2 cups apple juice
- pinch of table salt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp non-dairy butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the filling
- In a medium saucepan simmer figs, apple juice, and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are very soft and sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly before pouring into food processor or blender.
- Add lemon juice and process/blend until the fig mixture has the consistency of jam. Set aside.
To make the crust
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and spray the foil with cooking spray.
- In medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl beat the non-dairy butter substitute and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of dough for top crust.
- Place remaining dough into prepared baking pan and spread with greased spatula. Top with a greased piece of parchment paper and use measuring cup or other flat-bottomed object to smooth out the dough. Be careful not to press down too hard or the dough will squeeze up the sides of the pan (ask me how I know that). Remove the parchment paper and bake crust until it just starts to turn brown, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the reserved dough between two sheets of greased parchment paper and roll out into an 8-inch square. This turned out to be a lot harder than it looked, at least for me who sucks at eyeballing length measurements. I ended up with about a 12-inch square, which ended up being tricky to work with later on. Place the dough in the freezer to chill while the bottom crust bakes.
- When the bottom crust is done, pour the fig mixture on top and spread with a spatula. Place the chilled dough square on top, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely before removing from the pan using sling.
This recipe, while tasty, did not turn out quite how I would have liked. The figs were too liquidy, which is gradually turning the bottom dough into a mushy mess. I like my top crust a little thicker (and my bottom crust a little thinner), so I’ll split the dough more evenly next time. And I’ll be more careful rolling the dough and will chill it longer to increase the chances that it will peel off the parchment paper in one piece next time. Flattening bits of sticky dough on a sticky, figgy topping is not something I want to do again.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated, Holiday Baking 2008