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Fig and Date Basteeya

In their original form, basteeya are Moroccan dove pies, savory pastries of spiced dove with almonds and cinnamon and sugar. We usually make them with chicken instead, with cumin and saffron and dill and other such things. There are often several dozen of them in our freezer, in case of emergency meat hunger.

These sweet fig and date basteeya are based off a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. They taste like pastry candies to me, chewy and dark and sweet. I made them with almond meal, because I do not like whole nuts, and with bamboo honey, which has a more distinct flavor than the clover and goldenrod honeys Americans tend to use, but is not quite as overwhelming as, say, buckwheat or walnut honeys can be. The tang of the bamboo honey complemented the dried fruit very well.

Fig and Date Basteeya
3/8 C finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
3/8 C finely chopped dates
1/4 C almond meal
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 C very hot tap water
Phyllo dough
Unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
Cinnamon and sugar, for sprinkling

Mix together in a bowl the figs, dates, almond meal, honey, extracts, salt, and water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough at a time, leaving the rest covered with saran wrap and damp paper towels over the saran wrap in the meantime. Cut the sheet of dough into strips the short way. It’s best to keep them relatively narrow, maybe only 1 1/2″-2″ wide or so, because these are so densely sweet.

For each strip: Brush melted butter over the entire strip of dough. Place a glob of filling near the top. Fold the dough over it and down along the strip the same way you would fold a flag. Brush melted butter over the top of the fully folded pastry, and sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with as many strips as you have filling to fill.

At this point, you can either bake and eat the pastries immediately, or you can freeze them to be baked and eaten later.

Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes if fresh, or 40 minutes or so if frozen.

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9 Responses to “Fig and Date Basteeya”

  1. sam says:

    gorgeous: both the idea for the filling AND the pictures.

  2. Tanna says:

    I just don’t know what to say – these just look so incredible. I could see myself on bended knee, begging for a bite. Strangely enough, it actually looks doable.

  3. Anita says:

    Wow, that first shot is just gorgeous. I’ve had savory basteeya before but not sweet – I have to try your recipe. Thanks!

  4. Andrea says:

    These look & sound sensational, I love all the ingredients & have never tried anythign like this before or even seen anything similar on a menu, yum

  5. jenjen says:

    wow these look wonderfully exotic.
    I can just imaginine biting into one, pure heaven!

  6. [...] A fig is a perfect fruit, in my opinion. The simplest of pleasures, figs win out for their blissful unfussiness. This fruit doesn’t need to be peeled, has no inedible seeds, and contains no pits or other obstructions to fool with. Some varieties are exactly bite-sized; most can be eaten in no more than two delicate bites. A tiny stem makes a good handle with which to hold your fig, and it tastes best eaten ripe and alone, or, on special occasions with the slightest dribble of cream. But it’s versatile also: the fig pairs well with cheese and wine, or cooks up to a mighty fine dessert or dinner. [...]

  7. [...] Desserts and Other Sweets: Fruit Apricot Fruit Leather Ravioli Apricot Hazelnut Squares Apricot Marzipan Tartlets Baked Rummy Plantains with Cinnamon Gelato Banana Caramel Tart Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins Banana Malt Brûlée Spoonfuls Blueberry Oatmeal Crisp with Lime Ice Cream Blueberry Port Chutney Shortbread Bars Brandied Peach, Ginger, and Sweet Corn Cornbread Trifles Cardamom Meyer Lemon Créme Brûlée Bubbles Cranberry Leek Strudel Cranberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake Fig and Date Basteeya Grapefruit Almond Tart Lemon Chocolate Chunk Cookies Lime Syllabub Pear and Basil Tart Pumpkin Nests Rosemary Currant Shortbread with Cumin Ginger Apples Sour Cherry Almond Milk Sorbet Sour Cherry Pie [...]

  8. Nyssa says:

    mmm these look delicious! I can’t wait to make these for my friends. I’ve been trying to look for a unique exotic recipe and I think this is the winner!

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August 2006
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