Stuffed Dried Figs (Syka Gemista)

Traditionally made on the island of Lesbos, those fragrant figs keep forever because they are baked in the oven. They can be eaten on their own, as a snack, or can be soaked in sweet wine –preferably the famous one from the neighboring island of Samos— and used as a topping for ice cream, yogurt or custard.
Use small, thick skinned figs, like the ones from Smyrna (Izmir).
The recipe is based on Maria Koutsoumbi’s detailed instructions.


1 pound dried figs
1 ¼ cup (5 oz) walnuts, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground dried ginger

Wash the figs, and let them dry for 2 days at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 325°.
In a bowl mix the walnuts with the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Slash each fig at the bottom and fill it with the mixture, pressing to close. Place the figs, slashed side down, on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely and store in tins.


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