Mary LaBruzzo’s Fig Cakes

Fig cookies are a traditional St. Joseph’s Day treat.

Mary LaBruzzo's Fig Cakes
Yields 48
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  1. 5 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. ¾ cup all-vegetable shortening
  4. ½ cup sugar
  5. 1 cup warm water (105º to 110º)
  6. Fig Filling, recipe follows
  7. 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  8. 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  9. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Add shortening, and using your fingertips, rub it into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in 1 cup warm water. Add water to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead about 3 minutes or until dough is smooth.
  4. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long strip that is 3 inches wide and ¼ inch thick. Trim dough, if necessary, to achieve a 3-inch width. Strips can be of various lengths.
  5. For each dough strip, form Fig Filling into a 1-inch-thick log that is as long as the dough strip. Place filling on top of dough. Moisten edges of dough with water, and fold over filling. Roll dough a few times to completely seal seam around filling. Cut into 2-inch-long pieces, and place on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool completely on pans.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle cooled cookies with icing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Adapted from Mama’s Kitchen: Three Generations of Italian-Creole Home Cookin’ in New Orleans
Louisiana Cookin
Fig Filling
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  1. 1½ pounds dried figs
  2. ½ pound whole almonds, toasted
  3. ½ pound candied mixed fruit and cherries
  4. ¼ pound semisweet chocolate morsels
  5. 1 cup raisins
  6. 2 tablespoons orange zest
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  9. ¼ cup honey
  1. In a large bowl, combine figs and enough warm water to cover. Let stand until softened, about 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove and discard stems from figs.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, process figs until very smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. In the food processor, combine almonds, candied fruit, chocolate, raisins, orange zest, vanilla, and cinnamon. Process about 2 minutes or until very well blended, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add honey, and process until combined.
  3. Stir nut mixture into fig mixture until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.
Louisiana Cookin


  1. These were a big production for me to make but were worth it. My kids loved them and this year I’m going to start looking for candied mixed fruit and cherries long before St. Joseph’s day since had to improvise on that bit last year.


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