It’s the time of year for figs. Every visit to my local greengrocer sees trays upon trays of them for sale and they always get cheaper as the season goes on. A ripe fig is perfection itself, all jammy and perfumed, it’s hard to resist one, let alone an entire tray!
Figs, figs, figs
There are so many ways to eat figs: on their own, as part of a salad with a good salty cured ham, at the end of a meal with honey & goat’s cheese, baked and served with a main course – duck is my favourite, or poached with Ricard for dessert.
A friend came round to dinner recently, she always makes delicious puddings so I tried this recipe out, which had come to me in a flash of inspiration. I had some filo pastry to use, a bowl of figs and a garden full of lavender and so the fig baklava was born.
How to make fig baklava
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo, traditionally filled with chopped nuts (pistachios are very common and delicious) and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and is also found in Central and Southwest Asia.
Layer three sheets of filo, brushing each one with ghee or clarified butter. Then cut into even sized square measuring about 2”- 3”. You will need 30 x 3 sheet squares to make six baklavas. Bake them in the oven at 180oC until light brown. Now slice the figs thinly and layer alternately with the cooked sheets of filo pastry, drizzling honey and sprinkling a small amount of lavender flowers in between. You can make as many layers as you like, but 5 is about right. Finish off with figs, honey & lavender on top. Press down lightly and return to the oven to bake until the figs are cooked, only about 5-7 minutes.
These are delicious drizzled with a bit more honey and eaten with goat’s yoghurt. If you want to have them warm, you can prepare them in advance and finish them off just before you are going to eat them. Not a palaver really, well worth it!