Spanish fig balls

Dec 21, 2023

This ‘fig bread’ uses no flour so is naturally gluten-free. Its an amazingly tasty and simple recipe that’s great eaten as a snack during the festive period.

Serves: 4-8

Preparation Time: 25-30 minutes

Cooking Time: 0

Ingredients

1 tbsp Brandy
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Cloves, ground
100g Almonds, (toasted)
100g Sesame seeds, toasted
200g Prunes
300g Figs, dried (stalk and centre naval bit removed)
50g Cranberries, dried
85g Apricots, dried, (chopped)

Preparation

Pan de higo is a traditional Spanish recipe invented to preserve figs over winter. This ‘fig bread’ uses no flour so is naturally gluten-free. Its an amazingly tasty and simple recipe that’s great eaten as a snack during the festive period. The balls last a long time and travel well, so they also make lovely gifts for friends and relatives.

  • Whizz the almonds in a food processor until most are finely chopped, then tip into a large bowl.
  • Roughly chop the figs, then whizz them to a smooth sticky paste.
  • Add the prunes to the food processor and continue to mix until well blended.
  • Scrape the blended fruit onto the almonds then, using your hands, mix together well with the other dried fruit, brandy, honey and cloves.
  • Divide the mixture into little balls.
  • Tip the sesame seeds onto a tray, then roll the balls in them until covered.
  • Cover the tray loosely with a clean tea towel, then leave the fig balls to dry for a week before packaging.

Storage: The fig balls will keep in a cool place for two months

Special Diets

When using the ingredients listed, this recipe is suitable for the following diets:
• Vegan
• Vegetarian
• Gluten free
• Dairy free
• Egg free

We discovered this recipe via the wonderful website of host Josine Atsma and the credit for this figgy festive number goes to Suma Co-operative (including the above photograph) for which we are very grateful.

Josine’s WWOOF host story

Josine and JP are hosts in Scotland sharing their home and garden with with 10 chickens, Harvey the rooster and two cats – “We are self-sufficient in most of our fruit and vegetables and eat weeds in the leaner months” – Josine is the owner of the vibrant and award winning Stirling Health Food Store where many more seasonal recipes like the one above can be found.

JP, who’s a freelance web developer, has built a website called ‘Circle of the Good Life’ where Josine writes a monthly blog about their life in Glendevon. Below is a summary of their WWOOF story including how this energetic and creative couple of ex-WWOOFers from the Netherlands came to be hosts themselves:

We moved to a cottage with a fairly large garden back in 2011 where we wanted to grow our own
fruit and vegetables and be self-sufficient for as much of the year as possible. It soon became clear
that we had bitten more off than we could chew and decided we needed help. Thankfully we,
ourselves, have been WWOOFers for 9 months in 2006 when we stayed with several different
WWOOF hosts, all located in Scotland. This was such a great experience and some hosts had such an
inspiring lifestyle that we took the plunge to move to Scotland and be self-sufficient. That’s how we
knew about WWOOF and how it can be a two-way exchange of knowledge.

Josine and JP’s garden

We have welcomed between 20 – 30 WWOOFers during our time as hosts and always had great fun
and, boy, what a difference an extra pair (or pairs) of hands make! With the help of WWOOFers we
built a greenhouse, a chicken coop, dug a massive pond, planted trees, grew lots of vegetables and
made jam, sauerkraut and wine. We have so many fond memories: playing board games with each
other, watching (horror) movies, listening to music and going for walks in the countryside. Of course,
sometimes you find there are not many common grounds between hosts and volunteer or that
language is a barrier, but you always find ways around it and that’s what’s so good about WWOOF;
you learn about other cultures and can have open discussions to learn even more about others.

Big thanks to Josine for sharing her potted WWOOF story with us.

Photo credit: Josine Atsma

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