Sunday, January 24, 2016

Halva & Ricotta Stuffed Figs


Create reasons to celebrate. Always... even if its -20 outside, or you are stuck indoors due to the blizzard of the year. Today is Tu B'shevat, the birthday of  the trees. This holiday is about celebrating the season of the earliest-blooming trees beginning a new fruit-bearing cycle in Israel.





We mark the day by driving-up to the nearest forest and hugging lots of trees, just kidding... Essentially, this holiday is about getting together with family and eating symbolic fruits: figs, grapes, dates, pomegranites, and olives. It's also a festive opportunity to get creative with your dry-fruit cooking or baking. From date squares, fruit cakes, compotes to even Harosset Handpies, a personal creation.

Last Friday, I totally lucked-out when I crossed fresh figs at IGA. I knew the perfect recipe, BusyinBrookly.com's Halva & Ricotta Stuffed Figs. Halva is a flaky and dense tahini-based delicacy, not as common here in North America.

Did you know Halva is over 3000 years old? It's origin is debatable, some argue it's from India, The Balkans or even Turkey. There are hundreds of types of Halva, from marble, pistachio to plain vanilla and each culture has its own Halva. I love the ricotta-fig combo, that sweet tahini flavor rocks the palette.You can enjoy this fig treat for breakfast, snack, lunch... you get my drift. Keep warm to all!



INGREDIENTS

Author: Change Apfelbaum of BusyinBrookly.com.
  • 1 pkg of 16 oz fresh figs
  • 15oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp silan (date syrup), plus more for dipping
  • Sesame seeds
  • Optional orange blossom, a personal twist if you want to add Moroccan flavors -it's the perfect without.


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, add 2 tbsp of silan and 1/2 cup tahini paste and stir until combined. If the mixture is thick, add water until it’s thin enough to drizzle over the figs.
  2. Trim the tips of the figs to remove the stems. Cut an X shape into each fig, as if you are cutting it into quarters, but do not cut all the way through. Using a small spoon, fill each fig with a generous dollop of ricotta cheese
  3. Pour some silan into a small bowl, and place sesame seeds onto a small plate. Gently dip the bottom of the figs in the silan, letting the excess drip off. Dip the silan-coated figs into the sesame seeds to coat.
  4. Place the figs on a serving plate and drizzle with tahini sauce. Garnish with chopped halva.


VARIATION: If you cannot find silan, use honey instead.