Joyce M. Kelly of Ellicott City wrote that she was interested in making Fig Newtons. "I have a recipe for fig bars, but I want to make something that is more like a cookie."
Her response came from Verla Struminski of Lebanon, Ore., who wrote: "This recipe is in my computer program 'Kitchen Gourmet' by Softkey Multimedia Inc. I hope it is what Joyce M. Kelly is looking for."
Makes about 20 cookies
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream
, cup dark brown sugar, packed, coarsely sifted
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried figs, preferably moist-packed black figs
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, beat the butter and sour cream until light. Gradually add the brown sugar, beating until the mixture is very light and thick. Incorporate the eggs one at a time; beat in the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the creamed mixture, beating on low speed or by hand. Mix well and turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
For the filling, cut the heavy stems off the figs. Combine the figs and water in a heavy saucepan and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the fruit is soft. Add the sugar, grated lemon peel and salt and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes longer. Press the mixture through the coarse disc of a food mill or process briefly in a food processor, then cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with parchment or lightly grease a large baking sheet. Divide the chilled dough into thirds and refrigerate two parts. Roll the remaining piece on a well-floured board to form a rectangle about 5 inches by 11 inches. Spread 1/3 of the cooled fig filling slightly to one side of center along the whole length of dough, covering an area roughly 2 inches wide and 10 inches long, leaving a 1/2 -inch pastry margin on the three sides of the filling away from the center. Moisten the exposed margin with water. Very gently, lift the edges and shape the roll into a neat, half cylinder about 11 inches long and 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches wide. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the filling process with the remaining , of the dough and filling, then bake the three rolls for 25 minutes or until they are slightly browned. Cool the rolls somewhat on a rack, then trim off the ends and, with a sharp serrated knife, cut each one into slices about 1 1/2 inches wide. Replace the slices on the rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "No kid will believe this is a Fig Newton. They don't look like the authentic article, but the filling is very pleasant and the cookie is a caky, soft cookie. It doesn't have the same shape, and the cookie browns slightly in the cooking process, unlike a store-bought Fig Newton. The lemon zest adds interest to the simple fig flavor."
Sheri Richardson of Columbia would like to have a recipe for eggplant curry, an Indian dish she says is very tasty.
Gladys Nemeti of Massillon, Ohio, is seeking two recipes. She wants to prepare pickled green beans and pickled corn, not mixed together. "I believe they are prepared in a crock and no vinegar is involved. Could it be with salt as sauerkraut is made? My grandmother made them and no family member has the recipe."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number.
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