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Recipe Mailbox: Fig squares to please students

Sliceable mac ’n’ cheese

A while back, the Bee featured a recipe for “macaroni and cheese, slice it.” I went to four different stores to get the four cheeses the recipe called for. Now I can’t find the recipe. Can someone help?

Liz Dumas, Folsom

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Fig squares

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Makes 12 large squares

Teacher Ann Arn of Glendora wanted to make cookies for her students as an end-of-the-year treat. She knows many of them like Fig Newtons. She was wondering if there was a recipe to make these cookies.

Fig squares are a popular treat in New England. This recipe, from “Favorite Restaurant Recipes, 500 Unforgettable Dishes from the R.S.V.P. Column of Bon Appetit” (The Knapp Press, 248 pages, $25), is credited to the restaurant Ship Ahoy in Essex, Mass., and may fill the bill for Arn.

Crust:

3 cups pastry flour

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 cup shortening

7 to 9 tablespoons water

Filling:

1 pound dried figs, finely chopped

1 ¼ cups water

1 ½ cups sugar

4 teaspoons lemon juice

Milk

For crust: Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender. Add water, a little at a time, until mixture holds together. Chill pastry thoroughly.

For filling: In a saucepan, combine filling ingredients thoroughly and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until mixture is consistency of marmalade, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide chilled dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Line an 11 1/2-inch-by-8 1/2-inch-by-3/4-inch pan with 1 sheet of the dough, patting to fit evenly. Spread cooled filling over lower crust. Cover with remaining sheet of dough. Seal edges and cut several slits on top to make steam vents. Brush top crust with milk and bake until pastry is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares. Squares freeze beautifully.

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