Lancashire Fag (or Fig) Pie

I have again managed to link the traditional and regional recipe for this month.

Lancashire Fag Pie, or Blackburn Fag (or fig) Pie as it is sometimes called was a Mothering Sunday treat served up in the North-West of England. Fig desserts where eaten at various points in Lent. In Blackburn it was usual for such a dessert to be prepared for Mothering Sunday. Whereas in Burnley it was for eating on the fifth Sunday in Lent. Other regions waited until Palm Sunday, which became known as "Fig Sunday". This tradition is said to have originated because of the curse put on the fig tree by Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem.

This recipe dates back to the 1800s.

Ingredients - makes 6

For the pastry:  
250g plain flour 50g golden caster sugar1 egg yolk
50g butter, softened and diced 50g lard, softened and diced
1 tbsp milk  
(if preferred you can purchase an 8 inch/20cm ready-made sweet pastry flan case)
For the filling:  
300g dried figs 80g of soft brown sugar (muscovado)
200ml water 1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp of lemon juice 50g raisins
1 tbsp cornflour  


  1. The previous day, soak the dried figs overnight in a bowl with the water and lemon juice added.
  2. The next day make the pastry: In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour then add in the softened diced butter and lard and rub it together with your finger tips and thumbs until the flour looks like very fine bread-crumbs.
  3. Sprinkle in the sugar and add in the egg yolk and milk and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to clump together. Then gently squeeze the pastry in your hands and fingers until it comes together into a pliable ball – add a little extra milk only if it feels dry.
  4. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. De-stalk and cut the figs in half and pour them and the liquid they were being soaked in, into a small saucepan. The liquid should just cover the figs in the saucepan, if not add a little more water.
  6. Bring the figs up to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes turn the heat off and use a slotted spoon to drain and remove the figs from the saucepan and place them in a bowl to cool – retain as much liquid as possible in the saucepan and reserve for later.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  9. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. Use the pastry to line a greased (use butter) shallow 20cm (8 inch) pie plate or tart tin. Trim off any excess pastry overhanging the edges.
  10. Bake blind for 15 minutes in the oven.
  11. Place the figs all over the base of the pastry case.
  12. In a small cup add the cornflour and 1 tbsp of water to mix with it to make a paste with no lumps.
  13. Put the saucepan with the reserved fig liquid back on to a medium heat. Add in the sugar, stir to dissolve, then add in the ground mixed spice and finally the raisins. Heat this through, stirring all the while, to reduce and thicken the liquid.
  14. Add in the cornflour paste and stir it so that it blends into the liquid without making any lumps. Turn the heat up under the saucepan and stir continuously until it boils. Once at the boil reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer the liquid until it thickens considerably, stirring frequently.
  15. Once thickened pour all the mixture over the figs and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  16. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  17. Serve warm or cold with your choice of, cream or ice-cream.

This received a definite thumbs up from the Official Taster.


Dried Fruit