1/2 cup chopped dried figs or prunes (3 ounces)
1/4 cup brandy
1 large leek, white and pale green part only, or 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small pear, cored and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons fine matzo crumbs
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 2 - 2 1/4 pound beef brisket
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Place dried fruit and brandy in a small saucepan and place over low heat just until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes until fruit is plumped and most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain fruit, reserving liquid.
2. Meanwhile, cook leek or onion in the 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium-skillet until tender. Add any remaining brandy from soaking fruit, the pear, and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Add plumped fruit to pear mixture along with pecans, matzo crumbs, finely shredded lemon peel, thyme, and pepper.
3. Make a horizontal cut through the beef brisket, splitting almost in half but leaving meat attached on one side; spread open. Lightly pound entire surface with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread fruit mixture over meat to within 1/2 inch of edges. Starting from a long edge, roll up meat and fruit mixture; tie with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals.
4. Brown meat in the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast in a 375 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted near the center registers 140 degrees F. Transfer to a platter; cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving (temperature wil rise 5 degrees F during standing). Makes 8 servings.