Fig Sfouf

Figs hold a special place in my heart. They remind me of being quite young and of my grandparents. That subtle floral taste from a freshly picked fig is a memory that lingers at the back of my mind. I don't remember the first time I ever tasted a fig (I'm sure I was still in nappies) but it's a taste that evokes so many different thoughts and so many different visions. I love this time of year because a friend of my father has a fig tree (yes, here in London!) and he usually sends a box over when they've sufficiently ripened.

Figs are a fruit so delicate that they should be eaten within three days of being picked or they'll start to spoil. I don't think we made it past the first day with these. I was fortunate enough to prize three or four away to use in this classic Lebanese semolina cake that's lightly spiced with turmeric. This is a great accompaniment to tea or, more enticingly, ice cream.

2 cups semolina
1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (optional)
1/2 a teaspoon turmeric
1/2 a tablespoon baking powder
1 cup of melted butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of full-fat milk
1/2 cup of water
3-4 ripe figs
1 tablespoon of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees C). Mix the dry ingredients and then work in the melted butter. Slowly whisk in the milk and then the water. Mix well until a relatively thick paste is formed. Slice the figs as thick as you like (you could dice them). Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin and layer the figs on top. Dust the figs with the icing sugar. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 20 or so minutes before serving it with tea or ice cream. I served this with a shop bought apricot ice cream.


13 September 2009 at 18:47 Arlette said...

Bishahi hal sfouf

Never tried to add fruit specially figs..
which i have some here and i might copy your recipe...
We have a Middle Eastern Cooking Club, all the cooks are from the Middle East Countries around the Globe.. if you have time and like to join us..let me know
check my blog
and also

9 January 2010 at 14:11 Taste of Beirut said...

Very creative! I love sfouf and made two versions but yours looks so enticing I will try it when I can get a hold of good figs (I will have to wait to get to Lebanon for that one)

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