Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Grain Free Fig Tarts GF SCD

I'm a traditional Christmas person. I love mince pies and Christmas cake and in the past there would always be a packet of fig rolls in the cupboard, my husband's favourite. He's been asking me to make gluten free fig rolls for the last couple of months and for Christmas this year I've made some fig tarts.

If you are vegan or vegetarian do you eat figs? Did you know that there is a possibility that a wasp was originally trapped inside your fig?

Figs and fig wasps have a mutually beneficial relationship since the wasps lay their eggs in figs and the figs are rewarded because the wasps pollinate the fruit in return. It is a complex subject but basically when pollinating the edible fig, the female wasp has crawled into the fig through a very tiny opening which is so narrow she nearly always loses her wings in the process and becomes trapped and dies in the fruit. Though she has pollinated the fruit, she doesn't actually lay her eggs within an edible fig.

The good news is that figs which are cultivated to be eaten fresh tend to be from varieties which can ripen without pollination and therefore do not require the help of wasps. However, it appears that figs commercially produced to be dried ARE possibly pollinated by wasps.

So does the fig contain parts of dead wasp or not? The answer is...not exactly. Nature created a solution to this problem. The fig produces an enzyme called ficin which breaks down the carcass of the wasp into protein thus basically digesting it completely.

So if you are vegetarian, are you going to eat dried figs again? Does it bother you that the wasp may have been digested by the fig?

This is what my husband had to say about it "all plants absorb nutrients from the soil which are broken down by bacteria and enzymes in the soil therefore all plants contain atoms and molecules that may have been part of another species".

Having said all of the above, here is my recipe - I hope I haven't put you off!! If you prefer you could make mince pies using my SCD legal mincemeat recipe.  This recipe makes about 12 to 15 tarts. I use a shallow bun tin (12 cup about ¾" deep).

Fig Tarts GF SCD


350 g ground almonds (almond flour)
90 g organic butter or coconut butter
3 tblsps clear honey or vegan alternative
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda


250g dried figs
juice of 2 large oranges or 120 ml fresh orange juice
rind of ½ an orange
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey (or vegan alternative) - optional

Make the pastry first because this needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least half and hour.

  • Measure out the ground almonds and pour into the food processor bowl.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the almonds with the bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  • Pulse a few times until the butter and the almond flour start to come together.
  • A tablespoon at a time, add the honey or vegan alternative. Pulse a few more times until the pastry forms a ball, adding more honey as necessary.
  • Wrap in greaseproof paper and leave in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.

Set the oven to 160°C then tip the dried figs into a pan with the orange juice and orange rind gently cook until all the orange juice has been absorbed which takes about 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and honey if required.

Chop the figs using a hand blender or mini processor but don't make into a smooth paste.

Grease the tin then roll out the pastry between two pieces of baking parchment. Cut out circles of pastry (I used a 3" cutter). Because the pastry is quite fragile, gently lift each one with a palette knife and set in the tin. Fill with about two teaspoons of the fig paste.

Cut out the topping ( I used snowflake cutters) and set on top of the tarts.

Continue until all the tarts are ready to bake.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

These are quite delicate so use this type of tin. Gently lift out after they have cooled. If you're not following the SCD you could dust these with a little icing sugar (confectioners sugar) if you like. They're very nice served with mulled wine!