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Dress Up Your Cheese Plate with Pan de Higo (Fig Cake)

Spanish Pan de Higo, or “fig bread,” is a perfect partner for a creamy, salty and sharp blue cheese like bleu d’Auvergne or strong hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego.

Who doesn’t love a good cheese plate?

Juliana and I both adore a good cheese plate. Unfortunately the cheese plate’s allure—so easy to throw together and ever so fancy—threatens to be its very downfall. As Lazy Gourmets, of course, we love any fabulous culinary offering that can be pulled together with minimal effort, but we also always want to wow our friends with our mad kitchen skillz.

An impressive assortment of fancy cheeses can be picked up at any cheese shop, and even many supermarkets these days, but a cheese plate consisting only of cheese—even with the addition of fresh fruit—is lacking that special something that says “Hey, we know our way around a kitchen. You should worship us.”

To that end, we’ve been busily developing recipes for cheese accompaniments. You’ll find a few of these in our book—like our Plum and Currant Mostarda and Orange Spiced Pecans.

Pan de Higo is the perfect partner for salty cheeses

But lately, I’ve been obsessed with those dark, sticky, nut-studded slices that sometimes adorn cheese plates in fancy restaurants. A bit of expert research turned up several recipes for Spanish Pan de Higo or “fig bread.”

It’s a bit of a misnomer since, well, there’s really no bread to it at all. It is simply figs, spices, almonds (and sometimes sesame seeds), honey, and brandy mixed together into a sturdy paste, formed into a log or loaf, weighted down, and left to set.

Spanish Fig Cake is a cinch to make

Pan de Higo is easy to make, especially if you use a food processor

  1. Toast the almonds and pulse them in the food processor to chop them.
  2. Mince the figs in the food processor and add the honey, spices, and brandy.
  3. Mix everything together with a bit of water and form the mixture into a log.
  4. Wrap the log in parchment paper, weigh it down with a heavy pot or cans, and let rest for at least 2 days before slicing and serving.

Pan de Higo is perfect for hostess or holiday gifts

Pan de higo makes a great gift, too, because the fig cake can be made ahead of time. This is one of those recipes that actually gets better with a bit of age. Letting it rest for a week or two lets the flavors meld, making it even more delicious.

To make gift pans de higo, instead of forming the mixture into a log, as described below, make several small cakes using a standard-sized muffin tin as a mold. Wrap each mini-cake in pretty paper and tie it up with a rustic raffia bow. It makes a great hostess gift or edible holiday gift.

Yield: Serves 12

Pan de Higo

Pan de Higo

Spanish Pan de Higo, or "fig bread," is a perfect partner for a creamy, salty and sharp blue cheese like bleu d'Auvergne or strong hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego. Pan de Higo, can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for a month or longer.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces blanched almonds
  • 1 pound dried figs, stemmed and halved or quartered if large
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy

Instructions

  1. Lightly toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to chop coarsely, place them into a medium mixing bowl, and set aside.
  3. Add the figs to the food processor (you don't need to clean the food processor or blade in between) and process until well minced.
  4. Add the cinnamon and continue to process to a paste.
  5. Add the fig mixture to the almonds along with the anise seeds and mix until well combined.
  6. Stir in the honey and the brandy, adding just enough of the latter to bring the mixture together.
  7. Lightly flour a clean work surface and dump the fig mixture onto it. Form the mixture into a loaf or log shape.
  8. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and wrap the pan de higo tightly in it, twisting the paper closed at the ends, and place it in a cool place and top with a heavy weight such as a cast-iron pot filled with canned goods or other heavy objects.
  9. Let sit for 2 to 3 days before serving.
  10. To serve, slice about 1/8-inch thick and fan slices out on a cheese plate alongside a selection of cheeses and fresh fruits.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 161Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 51mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 5gSugar 20gProtein 3g
Last Updated: October 21, 2019

2 thoughts on “Dress Up Your Cheese Plate with Pan de Higo (Fig Cake)”

  1. Thank your for sharing this recipe. I recently discover Fig Cake with Almonds at Whole Foods in the Cheese department. I had a sample offered by the WF Associate and subsequently bought a wedge. It’s AMAZING! What a rich delicacy to enjoy. Now, I want to make my own!

    Reply

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