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Dec 8, 2010 10:28 AM

Can anyone tell me anything about "fig cheese" / "queijo de figo"?

I came across something that seems to be called "fig cheese" while searching the internet for a food containing both figs and chocolate. Apparently, it's something from The Algarve.

There's a lot of pages mentioning it, mostly copy-pasting a recipe from a very old book.

Here's a representative one:

I'm just wondering if this is for real or just the result of a lot of copy-pasting a garbage recipe. If it is for real, can you tell me more about it? I can't find anyone talking about it anywhere on the web.

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  1. I do not know Portugal intimately, but have visited the Algarve region. There are indeed what translates to "fig cheese." They are cakes made with figs and called "fig cheese" because they resemble little wheels of cheese. They are a chocolate, cinnamon and fig concoction.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mels

      Its a regional sweet or "doce" from the Algarve which is often served on the first day of may and sometimes called "queijo de maio." This makes a lot of sense given the dried figs, which would be from the previous harvest. They are also made into smaller sweets which are served in cafes shaped similarly. I would guess its the almonds which are important, more so than chocolate. In fact I have seen some older recipes which just use figs, raw almonds, and portuguese grappa (which might have a bit of anise flavor). The recipe appears to be a translation a recipe that appears on a number of blogs, which is probably from the book "A mesa no Algarve." I think they mistranslated the center or meat of an almond as "meal" and there are some other obvious auto translation issues. So I would suggest working with ground skin on almonds and going from there. Also decorate the top with almond slices. Editorial Verbo in Portugal has a good reference on portuguese sweets (and another on festivals and their food traditions) which I would love to reference as I am not an expert but that is not available so hopefully this helps a bit. There are also similar sweets (no chocolate) from the Northeast of Brazil using cashew nuts and fruit.

      1. re: mels

        A similar confection is common in Spain where it's known as "pan de higo"