The key to a perfect homemade fig rolls is the pastry, which in commercial varieties is a hard lifeless casing. You can do much better than that. There are two main options, both or which enhance the pastry to bring up to par with the fruit for taste and enjoyment. You can make a rich, sweet, crumbly, buttery shortcrust case that melts in your mouth. Or, you can make a healthy and hearty pastry using wholemeal flour that blends perfectly with the taste of the figs. Varying the amount of sugar and butter in the pastry, and using a combination of flours such as almond, rye and rice flour can change the texture and taste of the pastry. You can also add baking powder or milk to the pastry recipe to increase the lightness. Shaping the rolling into short serving parcels and cutting the rolls before baking stops the pastry crumbling and disintegrating once cooked. Glazing the fig rolls with egg and sprinkling with sugar helps to keep the pastry intact when cooked.
Making your own fig rolls also means that you can enhance and personalize the fruit filling to suit your taste preferences. Some of the many options are:
Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly. Then, rub the butter cubes into the mixture until the texture changes to coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and gently fold through to form a dough ball. Transfer the dough to a plate and press the dough into a thick rectangular shape. Wrap the dough on the plate with plastic wrap and chill for 30-45 minutes. Next, place the figs into a small saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons water, the zest and lemon juice, the sugar and spice. Simmer the figs until they are soft. Dried, hard figs will take longer to soften and may require more water. When soft, add the almonds and set the pan aside to cool. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F). Grease and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Next, unwrap the pastry ball and press or roll it out into a rectangular shape about 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches) and 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Slice lengthwise into 2 strips. Spoon a line of filling down one side of each strip, leaving a small gap, which you brush with water. Then, fold the pastry over the filling and press the roll edge to seal. Cut the rolls into segments about 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) long. Arrange the roll segments on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with whisked egg. Sprinkle the rolls with sugar. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Allow the rolls to cool and serve warm.
A flax egg substitute can be made by whisking 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water in a cup and setting aside for 5 minutes to form a gel. You can use other egg substitutes as well. Next, combine the flax egg with the maple syrup, coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla in a large bowl and mix well. Then fold in the whole wheat flour, cinnamon and baking soda and mix with a wooden spoon to form a moist dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Soak the figs in boiling water for about 10 minutes to soften. Then, finely chop the figs or pulse very briefly in a food processor or blender. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F). Divide the chilled dough ball in half and roll each half in turn, on thick parchment paper or a greased silicone baking mat, into a long strip about 5 inches (12 cm) wide and 1/4 inch (1/2 cm). Spoon half of the fig mixture down the middle of each dough strip, leaving a wide margin on each side (1 1/2 inch; 4 cm) on the sides. Fold over one side using the sheet or parchment paper, and then the other side and press the seam together to seal. Slice each of the two logs into about 8 newtons, and place them on a greased and lined baking sheet. Bake at the date rolls for 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Cool and serve warm, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Prepare the filling by soaking the figs in boiling water until they soften. Finely chop the drained figs or pulse briefly in a food processor or blender. Add the maple syrup and enough water to form a filling mixture with the consistency of jam. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F). Mix the dry pastry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another small bowl and then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon to form a wet dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Then, roll the dough on a floured surface into a long strip. Spread the fig mixture down the center of the dough strip. Fold the sides over to form a roll and slice into serving size newtons. Place the rolls on a greased and lined baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Cool before serving.
Add the butter, sugar and cream to a small bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added. Mix the flour, cardamom, salt, baking powder, baking soda and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine these dry ingredients with the butter mixture and mix well. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours to make the dough more workable and easier to handle. Prepare the filling by placing the figs into a large saucepan, covering with 1 cup of boiling water and setting aside for 15-30 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, sugar and salt and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Chop the figs or puree briefly in a food processor or blender. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each quarter into rectangles about 5 X 12 inches (12 X 30 cm) on a floured surface. The dough will be sticky so turn frequently while rolling. Spoon a quarter of the mixture down the center of each dough rectangle. Fold the sides over, and seal the overlapping edges. Slice the rolls into swerving size pieces and place onto greased and lined baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is brown. Cool before serving warm.
Mix the flours, spice, sugar, a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Rub the cold butter cubes butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and mix the dough into a ball. Wrap the pastry ball in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 60-90 minutes. Prepare the filling by chopping the figs and placing them in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, orange zest and juice and add enough water to just barely cover the figs. Simmer the figs for about 10 minutes or until soft and resembling chutney or thick jam. Set aside to cool and then fold through the toffees and set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Next, unwrap the pastry and roll on a lightly floured surface to a rectangular shape about the size of an A4 piece of paper. Slice length ways to create 2 long pastry strips. Spoon about half the filling down one side of each pastry strip, but leaving a narrow border at the edge. Brush the borders with water and fold the pastry over the filling and press down to seal the edges. Slice the rolls into serving size lengths and place on a greased and lined baking sheet. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry is brown in color. Transfer the cooked fig rolls onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm. Keep the fig rolls in a biscuit tin or sealed container in the refrigerator. The fig rolls will keep for up to 7 days.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet and cover with parchment paper. Place the figs in a saucepan with 300 ml (1/2 pint) of hot water and simmer gently until figs are soft. Set the figs aside to cool and then chop the figs or lightly pulse in a blender or food processor. Mix the dry ingredients for the pastry in a small bowl and rub in the flour. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and mix to form a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board. Then, roll the ball out to a rectangular shape about 40 x 12 cm (16 x 5 inches) and cut lengthwise into two strips. Spoon the fig mixture down one side of the dough strips. Fold the pastry over the filling and seal using water. Slice the rolls into serving size pieces. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is lightly brown in color. Cool on a rack and serve warm.
Make the pastry by creaming together the sugar and butter until well combined. Fold in the whisked egg yolk. Add the orange juice and zest, vanilla, flours, cinnamon, almonds and salt. Gently fold the mixture using a wooden spoon or your hands to form a springy dough ball. Flatten the ball into a thick disk, wrap in plastic film and set aside in the refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Next, add the chopped figs and dates to a small saucepan. Add the honey, salt, apple, orange juice and zest and mix to combine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to soften the figs. Set aside to cool. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C (340 degrees F). Grease and line two baking trays with parchment paper. Take the chilled pastry from the fridge, remove the plastic sheet and place the dough on your work surface that has been dusted with a little flour. Roll the dough into a large rectangle and then slice into 4 strips. Spoon one quarter of the fig mixture in a line down the middle of each strip. Roll the side of the dough over the filling and seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut pastry rolls into serving size pieces. Brush the whisked egg yolk and water over the top of each fig roll and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool and serve warm. The fig rolls will keep for about a week in sealed containers in the refrigerator.