Fluden, Fig - dairy, pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

This is from "The Jewish Holiday Baker," by Joan Nathan, who writes: "This
is one of those recipes that has pretty much disappeared in the United
States, but those who remember it rave about it. A fluden, which comes from
fladni or fladen, "flat cake" in German, is just that, a flat, double-or
often multilayered flaky pastry filled with poppy seeds, apples and
raisins, or cheese. It was originally common to southern Germany and
Alsace-Lorraine, later spreading east to Hungary, Romania, and other
Eastern European countries. Often flavored with honey, it was eaten in the
fall at Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot and is symbolic, like strudel, of an
abundant yield. I have tasted apple two-layered fluden at Jewish bakeries
and restaurants in Paris, Budapest, Tel Aviv, and Vienna, sometimes made
with a butter crust, sometimes with an oil-based one. But only in Paris
have I tasted the delicious fig rendition, a French fig bar, from
Finkelsztajn's Bakery. (Figs, my father used to tell me, were often eaten
in Germany as the new fruit on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.)

"This recipe is a perfect example of the constant flux of Jewish foods.
Today, with the huge population of Tunisian Jews in Paris, it is no wonder
that the Finkelsztajn family spike their fig filling with bou'ha, a Jewish
Tunisian fig liqueur used for kiddush, the blessing over the wine on the
Sabbath. You can, of course, use kirsch or any other fruit liqueur instead."

Fig Fluden
The dough:
2/3 cup unsalted butter or parve margarine (or half butter and half
vegetable shortening), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ice water

The filling:
4 cups water
2 tea bags
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups dried figs, stemmed
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons bou'ha, or other fruit liqueur
1 large egg, lightly beaten

The dough:
Place the butter or margarine (or butter and vegetable shortening), flour,
and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until
crumbly and gradually add the water, continuing to process until a ball is
formed. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling and baking the fluden:
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and add the tea bags, the
lemon peel and juice, and the cinnamon sticks. Steep for 1-2 minutes and
remove the tea bags. Place the figs in the water and poach for about 5

Drain the figs and the lemon peel, reserving the poaching liquid. Then
place the figs, the lemon peel, the sugar, the liqueur in a food processor
fitted with the steel blade. Process but do not purée; you want the figs to
have texture. Add a tablespoon or so of poaching liquid if the filling is
too dry.

Preheat the oven to 400° and grease a 9-inch-square pan.

Roll out half the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Put it in the bottom of
the pan (it should not go up the sides), and trim off excess dough. Prick
the dough with a fork. Spoon in the fig mixture.

Roll out the second half of the dough and cover the fig mixture. Prick a
few holes in the top and brush with the egg.

Bake the fluden for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

When done, cut the fluden into 16 squares. It is wonderful served warm,
with whipped cream or ice cream. Or you can let it cool and eat it as you
would a fig bar.

Makes 16.  

The Jewish Holiday Baker, by Joan Nathan  
November 1997  

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