Fig and Raisin "Cream"

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  1. Drain the figs, reserving the soaking liquid.
  2. Discard the stalk ends of the fruit and put them in a saucepan with the raisins and wine.
  3. Add the spices and a teaspoon of sugar and bring to the boil.
  4. Take off the heat and cool slightly, then turn the mixture into an electric blender and process until smooth.
  5. Add a little of the soaking water if the mixture is stubbornly solid.
  6. Cream the rice flour or cornflour with a little more soaking water or wine and brighten the tint with a drop of food colouring.
  7. Blend the "cream" into the dried-fruit purée.
  8. Then return the whole mixture to the saucepan and simmer until it thickens slightly.
  9. Season with salt and a little extra sugar if you wish.
  10. The mixture can be served hot or cold over a sweet cereal dish, firm stewed fruit or - best of all - ice cream.
  11. Some versions in other manuscripts are stiffer and make a good filling for tartlets or fried puffs.
  12. One encloses the filling in pastry to make dumplings.