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Fresh fig mini turnovers are fun treat

Recipe: Fig pockets are filled with quick fresh preserves

Fig pockets are like little mini turnovers, filled with fresh fig preserves. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Like fig season, these cookies are special. They take a little time and effort, but the results are delicious with a delicate crispness and just the right amount of fig.

Filled with quick fresh fig preserves, they’re like mini turnovers. Instead of a flaky crust, the golden pastry forms something closer to a scone. Removed from the oven at 8 minutes, the dough stays soft like a thick sugar cookie with a fig center. Two minutes more, the top is golden and the bottom crisps while the filling retains its softness. (Any longer and the cookie gets too crunchy.)

The pastry dough needs to be kept as cold as possible; otherwise, it sticks to everything while being worked and pulls apart. So, make these little pastry pockets in batches of 10 or 12.

Quick fresh fig preserves double as filling.

For the fig filling, finely chop the figs including skin. (The food processor is great for this.) Walnuts add a little extra texture and flavor, but are optional. You’ll have extra fig filling leftover. Use those quick fig preserves on toast or English muffins. Or make more cookie dough!

Fig pockets

Makes about 30 cookies

For pastry:

6 tablespoons shortening

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon soda

For filling:

1-1/2 cups figs, finely chopped (about ½ pound)

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

To assemble:

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons sugar

Prepare pastry dough. With a pastry blender in a large bowl, cut ¾ cup sugar into shortening until fluffy. Stir in eggs, then vanilla. Sift together flour, salt and soda. Blend dry ingredients into sugar-shortening mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Prepare filling. In a heavy saucepan, combine chopped figs, 2/3 cup sugar, water and walnuts, if desired. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Stirring often to prevent sticking, cook fig mixture until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the ripeness of the figs. Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut 3-inch circles.

Remove chilled dough from refrigerator. Divide dough into thirds. Put one third of the dough on a sheet of parchment paper or lightly floured, cloth-covered board. Return remaining dough to refrigerator to stay cold.

Between two sheets of parchment paper or on the lightly floured board, roll dough until thin, about 1/16th inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter or the rim of a large glass, cut circles of pastry. Place 1 teaspoon of fig filling on each pastry circle. Fold pastry over filling. Use a fork to crimp the pastry and seal.

Carefully place little turnovers onto an ungreased baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each cookie. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until very light golden brown. (Less for a softer cookie, longer for a crisper cookie.) Remove cookies from baking sheet immediately and cool on a rack.

Assemble turnovers.

Repeat this process until all dough is used.

These cookies can be served warm or room temperature. Store in a sealed container.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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