Fig Truffles


First, an apology for posting a healthy recipe in December. Healthy is not a word people like to hear around the holidays. Holidays are for treating each other and ourselves. Indulgences. Healthy is for January, when the binging and splurging is over and we are faced with the results of our excesses, in the form of a belt that has become just a bit too tight or a bathroom scale telling us horrible truths we’d rather not know.

But what would you say if I told you that I found a treat, a sweet, an indulgence that tastes rich, naughty and sinful but is actually quite healthy? Something you can have throughout the holidays, safe in the knowledge that it will not lead to tears in the new year?

And the bonus? They’re incredibly easy to make. So easy, in fact, that you’ll be tempted to make them for everyone you know and give them away as Xmas gifts. And hey, why not?

Fig truffles. Now, you may have noticed that date balls/truffles have made a clean sweep of the food blogosphere, so this is definitely not an original idea. In fact, I specifically saw something similar on a fellow blogger’s site but have shamefully forgotten whose blog it was! (If it was yours, please leave me a note so I can credit you and include a link to your version.) But I did, of course, put my own twist on the idea by using dried figs instead of dates, and injecting them with distinctly Mediterranean flavours.

Instead of adding sugar, syrup or chocolate, as most similar recipes do, I pumped them up with orange blossom water, orange zest and cinnamon. The taste will remind you of a cross between fig newtons and baklava, only less sweet and with the added bonus of being guilt-free.

Truffles may be rather a decadent name for something that’s healthy but, when I called them Fig Balls, Hubby snorted and told me to think of a better name. And honestly, which would you rather get for Christmas? Balls or truffles?

Fig Truffles
Makes approx. 12 large truffles
  • 1½ cups walnuts, finely ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried figs (about 10), stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp orange blossom water
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • Splash of olive (or canola) oil for greasing your hands
  1. Put half the ground walnuts and all the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until it forms a smooth paste. (You may need to add more orange blossom water if your figs were larger or drier than mine were.)
  2. Grease your hands with the olive oil and roll the paste into small balls.
  3. Roll the balls in the remaining ground walnuts.
1. Make these for grown-ups by substituting Cointreau (or similar orange liqueur) for half the orange blossom water. 2. Mix up the flavours and try different coatings such as unsweetened cocoa powder or dried coconut. 3. These will keep for a long time, since the only fresh ingredient is the orange zest, but I haven't had to put them to the test since they get eaten fairly quickly. I'd say if you're going to keep them for longer than a week, refrigerate them to be safe.