I remember the first time I tried smokvenjak (fig cake). I was in Brovinje, a village above Koromacno, on the west coast of Istria (Croatia)… and an old local men offered me this sticky sweet cake of strange texture. It was disgusting and so good at the same time.
Smokvenjak is a cake made of figs, nuts or almonds, rakija (home made grape brandy) and fennel stalks (fennel is called “koromac” in Croatia, as the village mentioned above).
500 g (18 oz) of dried figs
½ dl (1,7 oz) of rakija or some similar brandy
150 g (5.3 oz) of almonds
½ of fennel stalk
Grind figs and nuts (or almonds) and mix them together.
Add rakija, enough to make small cakes with your hands. Traditionally, they are round-shaped or in shape of a salami.
Instead of rakija, you can use orange juice mixed with water. You can also add raisins.
Bake the cakes in the oven for 40 minutes on 80ºC (175 F). Let it cool.
Decorate cool cakes with fennel and wrap them in parchment paper.
Serve with rakija or some aromatic brandy.
A cake prepared like this can stay for a couple of months.
You can also make strudels or other similar cakes with figs.
Did you know that figs are considered antidepressants? Figs were Cleopatra’s favorite food and they were part of official Olympic meal in ancient Greece.