[Sca-cooks] al-Bagdadi substitution question

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Mon Jun 7 15:33:54 PDT 2010

Honestly, I'd be more worried about texture and sugar content whether or
not they taste alike (well, ok sugar is part of taste, but also part of any
texture equation ). Dates are very dense, in my experience, while figs are

Also, dates have waywayway more residual sugar than figs. CalorieKing.com
has 1 date (0.3 oz) at 4.5 g of sugar, and 1 fig (1.4 oz) at 6.5 g sugar.
So were talking dates having 3.25 times more sugar than figs (assuming
these figures are accurate). I wonder if you'll end up with a larger amount
of stuffing needed for the same flavor umph, or whether the amount of extra
sugar needed to make an equivalent sweetness will overwhelm the fig flavor.
Sounds like an interesting experiment.

FWIW, it sounds like from the recipe you posted that the usual version is
stuffed with nut paste, with dates as a variant. Why worry about fruit at
all, then, and see if there is something else you can add that calls for

toodles, margaret

--On Monday, June 07, 2010 6:15 PM -0400 Barbara Benson
<voxeight at gmail.com> wrote:

> I thank everyone for their thoughts,
> It is unfortunate but for the sake of planning a feast the decision
> regarding what kind of fig, date, lamb etc ... is predominantly made
> under the very strong influence of a budget. I have $7 a head to cook
> a Baronial Investiture feast for 100. My primary goal is to do
> everything in my power to bring glory to my Lord's table so that we
> might delight and dazzle those in attendance at this august occasion.
> But compromises will have to be made - ones I would not make if I had
> my druthers. I know that there are different types of figs and
> different types of dates - and that the figs in my back yard are most
> likely far cry from the figs that were available in period, but that
> is something we deal with all of the time in recreation cooking. The
> beef I buy will be corn fed the chicken factory farmed and the flour
> industrially produced, it is not what I would like - but I do not have
> much choice. I have not had much luck convincing the general populace
> that quality is more important than quantity. The expectation is for 3
> - 4 courses and if I presented 1 course of organic, locally raised,
> heritage breed yadda, yadda, yadda - well I would be booed out of the
> hall. And unfortunately where I live and the cost of foodstuffs means
> that the expense of such things would leave me with enough money for
> one course.
> I totally understand the tiny seed issue - but considering this dish
> also has poppy seeds in it, I didn't think that would be a problem.
> And I too find the flavors to be significantly different, but I was
> thinking back to a discussion we had on this list many moons ago about
> what the period mindset thought about substitutions vs what the modern
> mindset thought.
> Dates are pretty darn expensive, and I have free figs in my freezer.
> Both dates and figs are sweet and, when dried, they have a similar
> texture - which is why I thought I might be able to swap them out. I
> was trying to work in a period mindset and wanted to run it by the
> group thought of those here on the list - to make sure that I am not
> completely crazy.
> In a modern light, both figs and dates are "luxury" items in that they
> are pretty darn expensive and hard on the feast budget. Instead of
> swapping dates for say - raisins - I thought figs might be OK because
> they still convey the same tone of an expensive treat at the end of
> the meal.
> If the general consensus is that is a totally stupid idea then I will
> probably go another direction. I would just really like to find a way
> to use these figs and save the money for something else.
> --
> Serena da Riva
> On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM, Susan Lin <susanrlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I find dates and figs to be completely different.  The tiny seeds in
>> figs really bother some people.  There are different kinds of dates and
>> figs - do you know which would have been period for the recipe and which
>> would not or are you assuming that a fig is a fig and a date is a date?
>>  Just curious.
>> On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 3:18 PM, Elaine Koogler <kiridono at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> I find the flavor of figs somewhat different from that of dates...the
>>> latter
>>> has, for me, a darker taste.  I know that dates are, from what I have
>>> seen, more frequently used in sweets like this than dates but both are
>>> period and it should be ok...it would just not be a true redaction of
>>> the period recipe...
>>> Kiri
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