Fig paste on top of a buttery-tasting crust makes a satisfying bar cookie. The crust can be baked several hours or up to a day ahead, and without the topping makes a delicious shortbread.
Makes 16 squares
½ cup walnuts
1 cup flour
⅓ cup cup confectioners’ sugar
1½ teaspoons grated orange zest
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup walnut oil
1 cup dried figs (8 ounces), stemmed and coarsely chopped
⅔ cup port wine
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon cardamom
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, toast the walnuts for seven minutes, or until crisp and fragrant. Leave the oven on.
2. Transfer the walnuts to a food processor. Add the flour, confectioners’ sugar, orange zest and salt, and process until finely ground. Add the walnut oil and process until evenly moistened.
3. Press the mixture into an eight-inch square metal baking pan. With the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp. Cool the crust on a wire rack, but leave the oven on.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the figs, port, orange juice, honey and cardamom. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the figs are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
5. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Spread the fig paste over the cooled crust and put back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes to set the topping. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into 16 squares.
Nutrition per square: 145 calories, 5.7g total fat (0.5g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 21g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 39mg sodium.
Good source of: omega-3 fatty acids.
From The Wellness Kitchen, by the staff of The Wellness Kitchen and the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.