The Endive Chronicles 2008 Holiday Bonanza continues . . .
Last year I fell in love with pan di higo (Spanish fig cake). Pan di higo is a combination of figs, almonds and spices that are blended and drenched with brandy, shaped and left to set for three weeks, occasionally receiving a spritz of brandy along the way. I decided to turn it into a truffle that would be a delicious addition to any fine cheese platter or even served with a side of brandy to end the meal.
Instead of the three weeks a traditional pan di higo takes to evaporate and meld, this only takes a few days as I actually instruct you to reduce the brandy before adding it to the mixture. But the mixture should still be made a few days in advance to ensure the proper blending of the spices. This year as I started working up my list for The Endive Chronicles 2008 Holiday Bonanza, I knew I wanted to work this wonderful recipe in somehow.
The flavor of these delightful truffles is reminiscent of Christmases past. Maybe it’s the brandy talking, but they seem to radiate their own quiet warmth. I served these to my parents recently and they were a huge hit. Little did I know, that due to a recent trip to France my father has discovered the joy of figs and my mother found they went quite well with her glass of cabernet.
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 cup Brandy
6 oz Dried Mission Figs, stems removed (If you don’t have Mission figs, use what is available)
3/4 cup Almond Meal, lightly toasted and cooled
1 tsp Anise Seed
1/2 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Clove
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds, chopped further and toasted for coating
Reduce the honey and Brandy by half and cool to room temperature. Grind the spices together until fine. In a food processor, blend the ingredients together until smooth and chill overnight.
After the mixture has set and flavors melded, form into little bite sized spheres. Allow spheres to sit for 15 minutes before you roll them roll in the sliced almonds. The almonds don’t seem to want to adhere to the cold truffles. Chill until serving.
Note: I recommend you serve them along with room temperature manchego and toasted marcona almonds. They will also work well on a dessert tray.