07 May I don’t Give a Fig
It’s May, so my fig tree begins fruiting. This year I won’t give a fig, I’ll take the most of the crop drying them . I love both the early figs and also the autumn figs, sweeter and lip-smacking.
How could I prevent birds eating my fig tree? So this year, I’ll cover it with a net.
Sun drying figs is an effective way to preserve them. Fig bread – made out of dried figs- is delicious, and besides a great source of energy.
I love emulating forgotten expertise. I was reading the book “Nacer en los cuarenta” (Being Born in the Forties) written by Clemente Flores Montoya (1942), a local resident. Here he explains, among a thousand other local customs, how they dried figs. They collected figs in baskets made and sold by gypsies from Turre. Pigs fed on discarded figs, while the good ones were sun dried. It seems that this was the work of women and children, when the latter hadn’t go to school. Needless to say they put scarecrows up in their gardens to keep birds away.
Dried figs were put in esparto baskets and trod on them as they trod on grapes to make wine. Then were pressed and left to cure for a couple of months, then eaten at any time. A delicacy!
This is my favourite fig bread recipe:
As for the ingredients I take a wild guess, like my mother did. I don’t remember ever having scales at home!
½ kilo dried figs
A handful ground almonds
A handful shelled walnuts
30 raw almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A shot sweet anisette
Grated orange zest
Remove the stalks from the figs. Hydrate the figs in water for one hour to make them tender. Pat dry them with paper towels and blend them into a consistent paste, no too smooth ;).
Put it in a bowl where we mix it with the ground almonds, walnuts, honey and cinnamon. Mix well, and add the anisette and orange zest. Knead very, very well. Make a ball with the mixture. Cover with cling film and store it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
Dust the worktop with flour and split the ball in two. Shape each half into a tart. Set part of the almonds in one tart and cover with the other tart; set the rest of the almonds in the top tart. Sprinkle the whole cake with icing sugar. Cover with cling film. Then wait a few days and it’ll be ready to eat!
Marry with a good muscat or sweet wine. It’ll give you even more energy!