I was first served a treat similar to these by Patricia Wells, the famed cookbook author, when I was a student of hers for a week long cooking class in Paris. We students enjoyed them with a glass of champagne as we were putting the finishing touches on lunch one day. I must have eaten six or seven of them before she noticed my intake rate, and moved the platter to the other side of the room so that everyone else could get a crack at them. These are the simplest nibbles to make, are terrific with cheese and wine before a meal (or as the French do, after a meal), or eaten as I frequently do, as a mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea. I always like to keep a Tupperware bin of these on the counter-top to provide a quick and healthy snack to anyone passing through.
Tell your kids that they are basically a Fig Newton without the “Golden Flaky Tender Cakey Outside”, and they’ll be snarfing them down right along with you. Sweet like candy, with a delicious crunch from the walnut, and a crackling bite from the fig and anise seeds, they are a perfect school lunch snack as well.
I always make a big bin of them for the holidays as we frequently have lots of family and friends stopping by, and these will keep for weeks as long as you keep them in a well sealed container, ready for any visiting dignitaries. Boris helped me slice a couple dozen figs the other day, while I roasted the walnuts and lightly toasted the anise seeds. He then assembled the whole batch while I prepped my little counter-top photo studio to shoot the photos for this post. In about 20 minutes flat we had a whole stack of these babies ready to go!
- Dried Turkish, or domestic Calmyrna Figs
- Walnut halves, roasted
- Anise seeds, lightly toasted
- Lightly toast the anise seeds in a small pan until just fragrant.
- If your walnuts are raw, roast them on a cookie sheet in a 350℉ for about 8-10 minutes.
- Cut the hard stem from the top of the figs and discard. Slice each fig almost through along the horizontal "waist" of the fruit and open the fig to accept the anise seeds and a piece of walnut.
- Sprinkle a pinch of anise seeds inside the fig, top with a piece of walnut, and then close the hinged top of the fig back over the filling, pressing to make sure all your goodies stay intact.