It’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I haven’t posted anything for more than a week… I missed you guys and I missed blogging. I got busy and out of focus as we planned a little Thanksgiving vacation to sunny California. We visited family and went to the beach which was a lot of fun. And we spent one day at Disney, an experience that was fun too but made me want to use the F-word a few times that day. (It was so goddamn crowded!) I’ll tell you more about it later.
We came back home last night and found that a third of our neighbors have already decorated their houses with winter/Christmas/Hanukah lights. I bet that now, after the big turkey dinner is behind, everyone is brainstorming about the cookies they are going to bake for the holidays? My son has been asking for gingerbread boys and girls’ cookies for a month.
Well, do consider these jammy nutty bars called Figaro bars too. I got the recipe for them from my mother in-law. (Hi Anka!) I first tasted them when my husband and I were still dating (each other). In one of our visits to my future in-laws’ house, that was 9 years ago (!), she made them and I instantly went crazy for them. I love everything that she makes. She is such a wonderful cook and baker and I have a few recipes that she happily shared with me.
I have tweaked and changed this recipe back and forth throughout the years. It’s been a long time after all… This time I thought I’d try to add cardamom to the topping after trying this lovely cake which tasted great (but had a very crumbly texture). We loved the combination of lemon with walnuts and cardamom together. It was quite exotic and sophisticated in a way…. The cardamom adds an extra oomph to the Figaro recipe which came from Europe, I think, (Maybe from Austria?). Anything to do with the opera?
For the dough:
1 2/3 cups (210 grams) flour
12 tablespoons (140 grams) butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar
2 egg yolks
For the filling:
1/2 – 3/4 cup jam like strawberry (I used strawberry-rhubarb jam)
For the topping:
1 1/4 cup (140 grams) nuts, such as pecans and/or walnuts
2/3 cup (140 grams) sugar
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons) and zested
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoons cardamom, optional
Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees (170 C).
Place parchment paper on the bottom and sides of a 9*13-inch (30*30 cm) pan, and grease it with butter or cooking spray.
In a food processor bowl with the the steal blade, put the flour, butter, and sugar, and pulse a few times until you get big butter crumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse again just until the crumbs start to come together and look moist. If the crumbs look dry, add 1 tablespoon cold water (or juice or milk) or more, as needed.
Dump the crumbly dough in the prepared pan (save the food processor bowl and blade to later) and press with your finger to make an even layer on the bottom. If the dough sticks to your fingers, place it with the pan inside the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill.
Bake the dough for 5-20 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Meanwhile, make the topping.
In the now empty food processor bowl, pulse the nuts and ground to small bits. Add the other ingredients (but NOT the jam) and pulse just to combine. Set aside.
When the dough is ready, take out of the oven (Keep the oven working!) Let cool for 5 minutes. Then, carefully spread the jam using a the back side of a tablespoon or a spatula, all over the dough. (If your jam seems too thick, mix it with some water to dilute and loosen its texture).
Once you’re done with the jam, spoon the topping over the jam layer.
Put the pan back in the oven and bake another 30-40 minutes, or until the topping looks golden brown.