Friday, September 30, 2022


Early autumn, despite often being quite rainy, is a cornucopia of wonderful fruit that can be combined in a million ways into so many delightful desserts. When I think of it, my heart always goes to roasting red peppers, making zimnica, and heaps of figs and plums. Plums in all their glory, cooked into jams, conserves, and plenty of brandy.
And figs, my darling figs, my absolute favourite fruit; they are one of the main reasons I adore autumn. Plenty of them in the farmers' markets, or if you're lucky enough to have your own tree, lovingly pick them, chill them slightly in fresh water, and savour each bite.
Fragrant figs, soft and sweet plums, a dash of dark rum, and a sprinkle of freshly grated orange zest, is all that is needed for these lovely hand pies to come together. Homage to autumn, the best way I know how.
They pair exceptionally well with freshly brewed mint tea, and a dusting of icing sugar, although a dark chocolate glaze is something that elevates any dessert. Serve them as soon as they are cool enough to handle, and enjoy.

For the hand pies
500 grams filo pastry (16 sheets)
400 grams fresh plums, stones removed
200 grams fresh, ripe figs
100 grams light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum
½ teaspoon fresh orange zest
35 grams cornflour
For the glaze
200 millilitres hot water
100 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Remove the stones from each of the plums, and peel the figs, if you wish. Finely dice the fruit and place it into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the sugar, add the rum and the freshly grated orange zest, and mix briefly. Set the bowl aside for 10 minutes or so. After the fruit has released a bit of liquid, add in the cornflour, and mix well.
Take a medium bowl, mix in the water, oil, and vanilla, and proceed to assemble the pies. Place one filo sheet flat on the work surface, brush it generously with the oil mixture, and then place a portion of the filling in one of the corners. It will be fine even if it seems like it has too much liquid, because cornflour will help with that as the pies bake.
Fold the sheet into a nice parcel whichever way is easiest for you, and place it, seam side down, on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Repeat with the rest of the filo sheets and fruit, brush each of the pies with the remaining mixture of water and oil, and bake them immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 20-25 minutes. Once they are golden brown and baked, remove them from the oven, let them cool down on the baking sheet for about 10-15 minutes, dust with a bit of icing sugar, and serve. Yields 8 servings.