Sykopita: Fig ‘Pie’

Using up the surplus of figs, the over-ripe fruit is mashed and mixed with nuts, spices and liqueur or sweet wine, then shaped as a thin flat cake and dried in the sun, as it was done since antiquity. Now you can dry it in a low oven or in a food dehydrator.

 

 

Wrapped in fig leaves and stored in a dry, cool place it keeps well for months; not in our house, though, as it has become Costas’ beloved snack, along our lightly toasted almonds. Traditionally it is cut into small pieces and enjoyed in the winter accompanied by sweet wine and/or paximadia (twice-baked, savory biscotti).

Similar fig ‘pies’ are made in Cyprus, in southern Italy, Spain, Malta, and all around the Mediterranean with variations in the spicing and the various favorite liqueurs.

 

For a 30 cm (12-inch) about 2.5 cm (1 inch) ‘pie’

 

1.250 grams (2 1/2 pounds) fresh, very ripe figs, OR dried Mission figs (top and bottom cut, then weighted)

1 1/2 -2 cups almonds or walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup mastic-scented liqueur or ouzo

1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper, preferably aromatic long pepper

2 teaspoons anise-seeds or a combination with caraway seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Honey (optional, if figs are not sweet enough)

4-6 fig leaves

 

Half, or quarter the figs, and drop all ingredients in the blender.

 

Pulse to get a coarse pulp, then pour in the pan that you have previously lined with parchment paper and fig leaves.

Transfer to low oven (about 150 F or 55-60 C) or in the dehydrator and let dry for 2-3 days, until firm. Brush the top with mastic liqueur, and if you like, cut in half and place one piece on top of the other to create a thicker sykopita. If you like you can also cut in two wdges before wrapping in fig leaves, tie with cotton string and store in cool dry place. It keeps well for 6 months or more.

 

 

 

 

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