Fig fudge or fig and chocolate fudge or anjeer (fig) halwa or anjeer barfi, it goes by many name but it has only one language that speaks deliciousness in every bite !
Holi like other festivals of India always holds a special place in our heart, and being very adventurous by nature I never shied away from playing with colors. In those days in my prime years, festivals like holi used to be celebrated with great fervor, a three-day affair, not like weekend celebration of today’s and it all begins with holika dahan , for which huge bonfires were lit on the eve of Holi followed by few rituals, fun and amusement were more important for us then.
Ma used to make lavish spread of sweets and savouries, accompanied with full bucket of thandai, a special beverage made of almonds and spices, and not just for us but for the entire neighborhood, it was more a community event than a personal one. Some even made those bhang ke ladoo or peda ( bhang is very potent intoxicant in India) , those were specially for the grownups, and was highly restricted to kids but we teenagers (naughty as we were) used to sneak at least a laddoo or peda from that tight security kitchen zone ! And oh ya there used to be post holi gatherings too ! which was followed by some more mithais and snacks. That was me in different time, somewhere in my forlorn memories and in different time zone.
In today’s multidimensional lifestyle , these things are no longer possible for us but memories of those fun-filled days are enough to keep me warm till next year ! But one tradition we followed till date and that is preparing some festive sweets and savories for Holi and this year we are celebrating it (sans any color !) with Fig fudge aka anjeer halwa.
You will be surprised to know that I have discovered fig in recent years. Decades back in our own backyard there used to be huge fig tree, and I think it is pretty common in India , but we never ate the fruit, not sure why, it was the food for so many birds that used to nest on that tree. Only here in US when I saw these mission figs I fell in love with them and bought the whole packet of semi dried organic mission figs. I wanted to use those figs in ajmeri kalakand (am so fond of this sweet) but could not find any reliable recipe so far on the net, some even suggested to fry the mava with figs till it reaches the desired consistency but I doubted it. Finally I thought of making some fudge or barfi with the figs.
Mission figs has very leathery skin, shiny and the interior is grainy and crunchy, it taste sweet but has a hint of tartness in it too. The figs are first reconstituted with water and then mashed up with a fork. I love the chunky texture in the fudge but if you prefer more smooth and syrupy texture then it has to be processed in a food processor. My heart never contented with a single flavor, so chocolates were inevitably added, all I can say about that fig and chocolates are made for each other, with few sprinkles of cardamom powder and handful of toasted pistachios, this is one fudge which will hook you instantly.
Happy Holi to you all !!!
- 24 / 9 oz / 250 gm : Dried black mission figs
- ½ cup : water
- ½ tsp: Cardamom powder
- ½ cup : Palm sugar / brown sugar
- 2-3 oz / ½ cup : Chocolate chips semi sweet / chocolate chunks dark and bitter
- ½ cup : Toasted pistachio nut
- 2 tbsp : Almond powder
- 2 tbsp : Ghee / clarified butter (no vegan) / almond nut butter or vegan butter
- Before using the figs in recipe, first taste it, feel its silky body and enjoy its flavor.
- Now soak the figs in water for 6 hours or overnight.
- Mash the soaked figs with a spoon, and slightly pulse it in a food processor.
- If you love chunky texture then pulse it for few seconds. For more syrupy and smooth texture process it in food processor with help of residual water until you get the desired consistency.
- In a non stick pan, warm the butter, and add the reconstituted figs and on a high heat stir the figs till the water evaporates.
- Next lower the heat to medium and add the sugar. Stir it till the figs and sugar incorporates well.
- Sprinkle cardamom powder, keep on stirring and when the liquid has been dried up add the almond powder.
- Almond powder is optional, for more chocolate flavor you can add the cocoa powder too.
- Stir it well till everything comes together in a lumpy form. Check for the sweetness.
- switch off the heat and add the chocolate chunks or chips.
- Quickly stir it and mix it well with the fig.
- Stir in the toasted pistachio nuts and leave it in the pan for couple of minutes.
- Line a flat tray or square cake pan with parchment paper or you can grease the pan too.
- Pour the chocolate and fig mass over it, with the help of a offset spatula spread it and level it to desired thickness.
- Bring it to room temperature before refrigerating it to solidify. It will take around 6 hours.
- take it out of the fridge and cut into squares or any desired shapes , taste some and reserve the rest in a tightly sealed container.