Homemade fig rolls - refined sugar free


Little S, who is now 21 months old, has rather a penchant for fig rolls. Should we ever pass the biscuit aisle in our local shop he screams "FIG ROLLS PLEEEEAAASSSE" at the top of his voice from the buggy. At least he says please I suppose.

Now, I imagine that a shop bought fig roll is healthier than your average biscuit - it still contains fruit after all - but they are still likely to contain things like palm oil, glucose syrup, salt and sugar. Once I'd looked at the ingredients list I realised that it was high time I made some a homemade version of my little one's favourite biscuit.

These homemade fig rolls are delicious. In my opinion they are a world apart from the shop bought version - the delicately spiced, chewy fig filling goes perfectly with the slightly crumbly homemade pastry. They are free from refined sugar - the only sugar in them comes from the figs, the lemon and a tiny bit of maple syrup. I've added a tiny bit of ground ginger to the pastry to give it an extra kick - this is optional of course but I do think it adds a nice flavour.

Here's how to make homemade fig rolls.

Ingredients (makes 12)
For the pastry

160g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt (optional)
100g cold butter, diced
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk

For the filling
200g dried figs, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp water

1 egg, beaten

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt into a mixing bowl.
2. Rub in the diced butter with your finger tips until the consistency of breadcrumbs
3. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of the milk and mix until it starts to come together into a soft dough. Add the rest of the milk very slowly if you need to - you might not need it all. 
4. Knead lightly until it comes together then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
5. Place the figs, lemon juice, spices, maple syrup and water into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and then cook over a low heat until most of the water has evaporated and you have a soft, jammy consistency. Set aside to cool.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
7. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle that is 5mm thick. Cut the pastry in half lengthways. 
8. Spoon half of the filling down one side of one of the strips of pastry, leaving a small gap on the side. Brush the gap with water, fold over the top and press to seal. Repeat with the other strip of pastry. Cut into 5cm rolls and place on a baking tray.
9. Lightly brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Felicity Cloake's How to make the perfect fig rolls was a great starting point when I was preparing this recipe.

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