These little lovelies were inspired by my need to do a little pantry cleaning last weekend. They were the perfect vehicle for knocking-off the last few dried figs we had laying about, as well as an unopened jar of fig preserves I bought at Hediard while living in Paris (I don't even want to tell you how long ago that was). Any of you who have been to Hediard know they sell foodstuffs of only the highest quality (with prices to match), so I am pleased to report that even after YEARS tucked away in the deepest recesses of our pantry, the jam was still superb. Whew……
They offer a little something for everyone, a crisp-nutty base topped with some gooey-fruity deliciousness, and all finished with a buttery streusel layer studded with chocolate. Yes, these treats are a win-win-win in anybodies book. I first enjoyed fig and chocolate together last winter when a I sampled the wares of a local artisan chocolatier, Danielle Verzone, who owns Sirenetta Chocolates. She was manning a table at our local winter farmer's market when she offered me a chocolate truffle with a fig scented ganache in the center. It was delicious, and ever since I've been thinking about that intriguing combination of flavors and waiting to finally have the flash of inspiration to craft a fig-chocolate sweet myself.
As I always suggest, live on the edge and use this recipe as just a suggestion…. a jumping off point if you will. How many of you really like orange and chocolate in a treat? If so, just sub orange marmalade in for the fig jam. Not a big fan of chocolate? I know….hard to believe, but over the past few years I've actually met a few of these freaks folks who don't care for chocolate at all. If you fall into that camp just drop the chips from the recipe and add a light sprinkling of anise seed for a little added excitement. Anise and fig are a match made in heaven!
Enjoy – Steve
- 2 cups ( 9 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oats)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks ( 8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- 5 dried kalmyrna figs, cut into small dice
- 15-16 ounce jar of fig jam
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- Heat the oven to 325℉.
- In a small pan add the chopped figs to the fig jam and heat over medium-low heat until the jam loosens a bit and the fig pieces are fully cloaked in the goo. This helps the dried fruit to rehydrate slightly before baking in the bars. Set aside and let cool.
- In a standing mixture with a paddle attachment, blend the flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt on low until well mixed. Add the cubes of butter, turn the mixer to medium and blend until the mixture is well moistened and just starts to pull together as a dough, 2-3 minutes.
- Remove 1 1/2 cups of the crumbly dough and set it aside to use as a streusel topping.
- Add the chopped nuts to the remaining dough, mix well to incorporate, then pour it all into an un-greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Firmly press the dough into an even layer across the bottom of the pan, and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the bottom crust from the oven and let cool at least 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. (Leave the oven at 325℉)
- Spread the fig jam over the cooled crust to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Mix the chocolate chips into the reserved crumble topping and sprinkle it evenly over the the fig jam. Place the pan back in the oven and cook for another 35 minutes, or until the topping is well browned and the jam is bubbling.
- Remove the pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting.