Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas noms: Pan de higo brandy balls

This great little stocking filler is a veritable journey around the world.

The recipe is a bit of a mash up: part Pan de higo or Spanish fig cake, part Chinese New Year date and walnut candy and part English brandy balls.

You could call these UN balls.

The Spanish fig cake part is traditionally served in autumn as a way to preserve figs during the winter months but I thought there is something particularly festive about the gorgeous sticky sweet figs and dates paired with warming spices and a generous kick of brandy which make these deliciously wholesome Christmas gifts.

Serve with just on their own, or paired with crackers and manchego cheese or chevre or even blue cheese drizzled with honey.  They also make great tramping snacks since acutally pretty healthy, they don’t need any extra sweetners and are gluten free.  Well, healthy apart from the brandy.  But brandy does help preserve the fruit and besides, it's Christmas!

Date and Walnut Brandy Balls

350 g dried dates, roughly chopped
150 g dried figs, remove the little hard stalk, roughly chopped
50g walnuts
50g almonds
3-4 Tablespoon brandy
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1. In a food processor, blitz the nuts until coursely chopped and still chunky. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Put the dates, figs, brandy and spices into the food processor (no need to wash in between), pulse until it just forms a sticky paste (again doesn't need to be too fine) - this will test your machine so hold on to it!! Tip the sticky paste into the nuts and mix with a spoon to combine.

2. Roll into balls or press into a little plastic wrapped mould to shape. Roll in sesame seeds and place on a tray with waxed paper, cover and allow to dry out in a cool dry place for at least 2 days.  Wrap in wax paper to store.

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