Growing up with three sisters has many advantages (too many to list here, too many to list anywhere), but one in particular is a three-fold sounding board for remembering excellent things about your childhood. At least one of us can always fill in the blank: a song we used to dance around to in the living room ("I Get Around" by the Beach Boys), the record we'd play on our old vinyl turntable (The Aristocats), which VHS tape had the funny scene of Fred Astaire tap dancing on a sandy floor (Top Hat).
They remember that we would curl up on my parents' bed every night to be read to from a chapter book, first The Wheel on the School, then Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. And also that we liked to sneakily microwave slices of Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese on glass plates (nachos without the nachos, way to cut to the chase kids), and that we had a major Fig Newton phase.
Fig Newtons are so underrated, and I'm starting to consider whether I ought to be stocking my adult kitchen with them. We were a straight fig-flavor family, although we dabbled once or twice in Apple Fig Newtons or Strawberry Fig Newtons, and quickly returned to the classic.
Given the widespread popularity of Fig Newtons, it surprises me how few people have tasted fresh figs. They have an intensely sweet, honeyed, plum-like flavor with a seedy, slick texture. Since they are so visually stunning, I like to keep them fresh. My best discovery is this fig-topped toast -- not quite as comforting as a box of Fig Newtons, but a little more sophisticated.
Use a nice seedy bread -- something with texture and density to stand up to the softness of the fruit. The spread is a blend of Greek yogurt and tahini with a drizzle of honey and a little turmeric. It's mild enough in flavor to let the fruit star, but adds a creamy nuttiness to every bite, like a lighter, tangier nut butter.
Makes 2 slices (but serves one if you're me)
2 slices seedy bread
6-8 fresh figs, sliced
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
dash of turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon honey
Toast your bread lightly. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, tahini, honey, and turmeric. Spread a generous layer on each piece of toast. Top with the sliced figs and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and black pepper.