Hunting for a stand-out holiday appetizer? I think I’ve got just the one!
Welcome your holiday guests with something warming to sip and a surprise taste adventure to invigorate the appetites –a platter of Figgy Wafers. Beautiful little flavor-infused morsels, these delicious crackers stand out because of a generous measure of aromatic cardamom to complement the sweetness of the figs.
While these irresistible little wafers make wonderful tidbits without accompaniments, pair them with a thin slice of vegan cheese and send your happy little flavor receptors into vegan nirvana. Even better, top the crackers with a slice of banana and then put the cheese on top.
Plan ahead for the holidays by making one or more batches of the recipe, rolling them into logs, and freezing them. Then, when you’re planning to serve them, it takes only a few minutes to slice and bake them.
Yield: about 40 slices
10 dried figs, either black or golden
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
- Have ready a large bowl and a pair of kitchen scissors. Using the scissors, snip off and discard the tough stems from the figs and snip the figs into small dice into the bowl. Pour the rum over the figs and set aside to soak for several hours or overnight.
- Combine the almonds, rolled oats, flour, ground cardamom, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are finely ground.
- Add the margarine and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the figs and use a fork to blend the mixture into a dough.
- Form the dough into a long log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and freeze for at least 3 or 4 hours, or until solidly frozen. The log will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When ready to bake the wafers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
- Unwrap the frozen log and use a firm, thin-bladed knife to cut it into 1/8-inch slices. Put them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Carefully, lift the wafers with a metal spatula and transfer them to a platter to cool completely.
Because cardamom is not as familiar a spice as cinnamon, it frequently gets overlooked. But give it an opportunity to show its mojo and you’ll be hooked.
You can buy this spice already ground into a powder in the spice section of most markets. You can also find it in Asian and Indian markets where it’s available in whole pods or already ground. While the ground cardamom is certainly more convenient, it quickly loses its pungency and its flavor fades.
For its flavor delightful strength I much prefer to buy the whole pods and crush the small seeds with a pestle. Really fresh pods are green, but if they’ve been around awhile, they turn beige. It’s a bit painstaking because first I pound each pod to open it. The, one-by-one by hand I open each pod and empty the seeds into the mortar. You can also put the seeds into a spice grinder for a quicker grinding process.