Fig Bars

A number of years ago I published a date bar recipe which can be found in the Desserts archives on the site. It has a shortbread-like crust and a crumbly top with a date sauce center. This FIg Squares recipe is a cousin to date bars except it has a pie crust top and bottom and a fig center.

You can start by chopping up a cup of figs quite small and

putting them in a small sauce pan with enough water to come about halfway up the layer of figs. Cook gently adding a little water when needed until the figs are quite soft. Mash them up into something like the texture of a thick applesauce. Add sugar or brow sugar to taste and a splash of vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Next, make your crust. You can use ordinary pie crust or you can use the following tart crust that I nicked from David Lebovitz and adapted. Its quick, easy and flakey, but there isn’t quite enough of it. So I increased the amounts a little. What makes this dough different is that you parts of it in the oven before you mix it up.

Be sure to use an oven proof bowl or casserole and remember that it will remain hot when you go on to the final mixing steps.

Put a quarter cup of butter cut in small pieces into your bowl along with 2 tblsp of canola oil, 4 tblsp of water, 1 rounded tblsp of sugar and a dash of salt. Place in preheated oven 0 410 degrees - for 10-15 minutes. It should be bubbly and brown around theedges when you take it out.

Add 1 and 1/4 cups of flour sprinkled with a scant 1/2 tsp of baking soda and mix quickly. It will likely be quite oily looking and loose at this point. So add in another half cup +/- of flour and mix. Divide in half.

Take the first half and form it into a rectangle on an ungreased cookie sheet. Roll it out to a 1/4” thickness or about 8”X14”. It may be helpful to put a sheet of wax paper or parchment on top of the dough while rolling. Remove the paper and spread half the fig sauce on top of the dough.

Roll out the second half of the dough between two pieces of wax paper to the same dimensions. Remove the top paper and carefully invert onto the bottom crust. Crimp the edges with a fork and pierce vents in the top crust.

Bake in the 410 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom. When cool cut into 2” squares and store in a tight closing container. They don’t keep very long- just a day or two.

The second half of the fig sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.

Alternatively you can replace the figs with another jam. Raspberry, apricot or lemon are good.