[Sca-cooks] al-Bagdadi substitution question

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 7 15:50:38 PDT 2010

Serena da Riva wrote:
>Urnin wa-khubz al-Abazir

>Specifically the Date filled version. While I love dates, I have 2
>large fig trees in my yard and no date trees. I have several pounds of
>dried figs from last year's harvest languishing in my freezer and was
>trying to decide if I could substitute figs for dates. They have
>similar textures and flavor profiles and both were available in the
>time period and region.
>This isn't for an A&S entry, but if it is completely out of line I
>don't want to do it.

First, i radically disagree with your assessment that they have 
similar textures and flavor profiles.

I don't recall recipes for sweets from al-Baghdadi calling for figs, 
but i need to double check, i could have just lost the memory...

Dates are quite commonly used in sweets. In al-Baghdadi, they seem to 
be nearly the only fruit used in sweets, other than almonds, etc.

I have found figs in savory dishes, cooked with lamb, among mid-15th 
c.Ottoman recipes. But figs don't appear in recipes for sweets, and 
the Ottomans use a *vast* range of fruits, as well as gourds, 
carrots, and eggplants, in a wide range of sweet dishes:
Almonds; Sour Apple; Sweet Apple; Apricot; Arab (i.e., w/spices); 
Candied Cheese; Carrot; Sour Cherry; Sweet Cherry; Citron; Coconut; 
Cornelian; Date; Eggplant; Ginger; Gold Leaf; Gourd; Grape; Honey; 
Honeydew; Lemon; Lime (possibly); Mint; Orange (i dont know if this 
was bitter or sweet); Bitter Orange; Peach; Pear; Green Pear; 
Pistachios; Sour Pomegranate; Sweet Pomegranate; Pomegranate Flowers; 
Poppy Seeds; Quince; Rose Petals; Sumac; Tamarind; Fresh Young Green 
Walnuts; Water Lily; Watermelon

However, why not give it a try. These are in many ways period 
Mamul... or in your case, Fig Nutanat...
(there is no e and no o in Standard Arabic, plus I have made a fake 
Arabic feminine form: nutana, sing.; nutanat, plural, for Newton ;-P )

Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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