Posted in Kafevend Blog
It's been a while since we last looked at a biscuit in the blog, but today we return to the theme by considering the fig roll's potential as a tasty accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Like the Garibaldi, it has a feel good factor because of the dried fruit at its centre. It's frequently avoided by children because of that self same fruit, so if you have the average five a day avoiding child and simultaneously desire to keep a packet of biscuits for your own consumption, fig rolls are a natural contender!
Archaeologists have found evidence showing that the fig tree is one of the very earliest domesticated plants, pre-dating even wheat, for instance. Although particularly suited to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climate, the right variety will happily grow in UK gardens. The Romans were the first to grow figs here, along with grape vines, in order to provide themselves with familiar food. It is the Ancient Egyptians, however, that we probably have to thank for the origin of the fig roll, which remains a delicacy there to this day.
Fig rolls continued to be hand made until the end of the nineteenth century, when Charles Roser of Philadelphia patented a machine for automatically inserting fig paste into dough and so was born the mass production of the 'Fig Newton', the version of fig rolls that Americans eat still. Wonderfully chewy fig rolls can be found in just about any supermarket. There's no single dominant fig roll producer in the UK, as there is in the USA, and stores' own brands are generally just as good. If you'd rather have a go at making your own there are plenty of recipes to choose from on the web, many including honey, dates and spices to give a more authentic Egyptian twist.