Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fig Bars

WARNING: midwesterner viewing the fig outside
of the newton for the first time may
display signs of confusion and dread
Figs have been a staple in the Greek diet since ancient days.  They were brought from Egypt to Crete and then from Crete to Greece.  They never were brought to the American midwest, but did make it to California eventually.  When my Minnesotan family came for my son's wedding in September they were astonished to find ripe figs hanging from the trees, with no resemblance what so ever to dried figs.  Fresh figs have smooth skin, chewy flesh and crunchy sweet seeds; a really remarkably tasty combination.  The ancient Greeks held the fig in such high esteem that they created laws forbidding the export of the best quality ones.  Every fig I've ever eaten has been super high quality to me.  The only problem with fresh figs is that they perish so quickly and are available for such a short time.  Thankfully dried figs are available all year round, and can be easily transformed into fig bars, a sweet readily recognizable to all!

Fig Bars

1 pound dried figs, cleaned and chopped
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teas. vanilla

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

1 cup butter

In a medium saucepan, cook all the ingredients of the filling till sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thick. Set aside and allow to cool.Preheat oven to 350F./180C. Grease a 9x13 in. baking pan. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together, using your hands to mix the butter in until course crumbs form. Spread half of the mixture in the baking pan,pressing firmly to sides of pan. Pour filling over crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture evenly over filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

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