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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.