Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir well.
Cut in the shortening with a fork and work the mixture until it looks like corn meal. In a bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, and milk together.
Add to the flour mixture and work the mixture with your hands into a rough dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. The dough will be soft.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill for 45 minutes.
Bring the water and allspice, nutmeg and cloves to a slow boil, reduce heat to low and cover.
To make the filling, grind the figs, dates, and raisins in a meat grinder or in a food processor until coarse; or coarsely chop.
Place the mixture in a bowl, add the honey, cinnamon, marmalade, chocolate and nuts and mix well. Add the spice brew and mix well.The mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
Divide the dough into quarters and work with 1 piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.
On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 12-inch square.
Cut the dough into 4-X-3-inch rectangles,and spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the center of each rectangle.
Carefully fold over the long edges of each rectangle to meet in the center, then pinch the seam to close it securely, and turn the cookie seam side down.
Pinch the ends closed and fold the ends under.
You can shape the cookies into crescents and place seam side down on the cookie sheets.Or make wreath shapes (at Christmas) or just cut into thumb lengths.
Make 2 or 3 diagonal slits in the top of each crescent with scissors.
Brush with the egg wash
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Once cooled you can frost if you like with the confectioner sugar glaze and add colored sprinkles.