A biscuit recipe from Nigel Slater, in his weekly column in the Observer newspaper, caught my eye recently, for the unusual combination of flavouring ingredients used. As well as the eponymous figs and pumpkin seeds, dried cherries and walnuts are used, plus some ground almonds in the base oat mix and maple syrup in the binding mix.
In his preamble to the recipe, Nigel describes his quest to make a muesli style biscuit which is crunchy, yet still sticky like a flapjack. I like my flapjacks thick and chewy, not biscuity, so wasn't sure how I would like the texture of this Fig and Pumpkin Seed Bar, but decided it was worth a try for the flavours alone.
The only change I made to the recipe was to use pecans instead of walnuts; if there were walnuts in my storecupboard, then I couldn't find them! I chopped the figs in the mini-processor first, to the size of raisins, then added the rest of the fruit, nuts and seeds and pulsed briefly until the nuts were chopped. This reduced the figs, cherries and pecan nuts to quite small pieces but left the pumpkin seeds more or less intact - I didn't want the biscuits to be too crumbly. After baking, I cooled the mixture with some weights on top, as Nigel stressed the need to press them down while cooling.
The final result was a thin oat bar which is crunchy, flavoursome and very sweet, but to me is neither a crisp biscuit nor a chewy flapjack. I really liked the flavours together but didn't really like the texture. I think I would prefer using the same combination of nuts, fruits, seeds and maple syrup in my usual flapjack recipe, or in a soft cookie recipe.