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Swirl with Figs

>> Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fig Swirl Biscuits

After I have read the announcement written by Ivonne of Creampuff in Venice for this month Sugar High Friday theme, I can’t help but trying my best to participate. Ivonne has chosen a fantastic ingredient, figs. And her love for it is just incredible. You really need to come over to read her post and probably participate, too!

I have so many ideas to do with figs, but currently restricted to use the dried form since fresh figs are not in season. I have been thinking of using them in bread, variations from my favourite pound cake and other things. But then my time for baking is really limited lately, so I opt for baking cookies instead.

Fig Swirl Biscuits

These cookies are inspired by one of my all time favourite cookbook, Saha. The recipe there by Greg Malouf is a variation from a traditional Middle Eastern biscuits called ma’amoul which is typically filled with either nut or date. These are traditionally made using wooden mold, and their shapes can be close to the Asian mooncakes (I saw them selling on Brunswick St.). Anyway, Mr. Malouf changed the preparation to produce a really pretty swirly effect. And I just take a step further to produce my very own fig swirl biscuits!

If you love melt-in-the-mouth biscuits, then, you will love these. The texture is very soft and delicate due to baking in low oven. And the fig filling is just incredible here, giving a contrast grainy texture. I am actually a little surprised how pretty and tasty they turn out!

These biscuits are not overly sweet but still great with a cup of tea. I also do not add any flaouring ingredients like liquor or vanilla since I want the fig flavours to shine. Speaking of that, which liqueur is good to flavour dried figs in your opinion? Kahlua is one option from Greg Malouf. Do you guys have any other ideas? I would love to know!

Fig Swirl Biscuits

Fig Swirl Biscuits

Inspired by this book


100g dried figs, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp water or as needed

1 tbsp castor sugar

Biscuit dough

270g plain flour

150g unsalted butter, cubed

30g icing sugar

25ml olive oil

45ml milk

1 egg white, beaten

Icing sugar to dust (optional)


  1. For the filling, put the fig in the saucepan with 1 tbsp of water and the sugar. Bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat and stir constantly until the figs soften and melt to a smooth, sticky mass (you may need to add some extra water). Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp water. When cool, blitz to a smooth paste in a food processor.
  2. To make the biscuit dough, sift the flour to a food processor bowl. Add in butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in oil and milk, pulse a few times until you have smooth dough. (This is my method. But you can also do this step without the food processor)
  3. Spray your workplace with some oil. Divide the dough into 3 portions and roll each one to a rectangle about 3mm thick. Divide the filling into thirds and smear onto each rectangle, leaving a clear margin along one long edge. Brush each clear edge with little egg white and roll each piece up to form a long. Sealing well at the edge. Gently but firmly roll each log back and forth to make it longer and thinner. Refrigatre for 30 mins.
  4. Preheat oven to 160c. Cut the chilled biscuit logs on the diagonal into lozenges about 1cm thick. Arrange on greased baking tray and cook for 10 mins. Lower the temp to 140C and cook for a further 10 mins. Cool on a wire rack. (to repeat with the next batch, remember to return the oven to 160C for about 5 mins, then continue).
  5. When cool, and to store, dust the biscuits liberally with icing sugar.

Fig Swirl Biscuits


For those who cannot view photos from flickr, here are some alternative links.


Lucy 2:04 PM  

Maybe Frangelico?

They look lovely.

Oh for the love of food! 2:39 PM  

What pretty biscuits these are, Anh! I was just saying to another blogger who posted a recipe using figs that I have never tasted them before. Are they in season at the moment?

Kelly Mahoney 2:53 PM  

Looks delicious. Are these just desserts or a tea companion as well? Perhaps a breakfast treat?

Maryann 3:00 PM  

This sounds like my type of cookie :) Yum!

Anh 3:40 PM  

Lucy, thanks. Great advice!

Carol, fresh figs are not in season. But you can defenitely find dried figs in the supermarket!

Kelly, they are good for snacking :)

Maryann, thanks.

Meeta 4:01 PM  

These are cookies for me. I love figs and enjoy them in biscuits/cookie dough the best. Lovely creation!

Sophie 5:30 PM  

These look very professional with the swirl Anh!

Maybe just a tiny touch of a liquer that isn't too sweet or fruity, brandy perhaps? Dried figs don't have too strong or sweet a taste so it would be fairly easy to overpower them I guess

Lydia 7:43 PM  

Beautiful biscuits! I love dried figs (does everyone remember Fig Newtons? My favorite cookie when I was a kid.) and will definitely try these.

Mike 8:23 PM  

These look excellent. Fresh figs are one of my favorite fruits that aren't actually a fruit, but I've never managed to keep them long enough to cook with them. Nice work

maybahay 8:43 PM  

oh wow, these look lovely. will definitely be in the 'to-try-making' list.
as for liqueur to go with dried figs, i'd try amaretto and as lucy said, frangelico.

Siri 9:46 PM  

Hey anh,

The cookies looks so lovely and delish..:D... and figs are my favorite too..Nice colorful post..

Asha 11:54 PM  

Biscuits are yummy, it's my turn to drool!:D

Valli 11:57 PM  

The cookies look so tender. Good for you for entering the challenge!! I saw some figs in my favourite grocers the other day. I still have yet to try them. What am I waiting for????

bee 12:14 AM  

my favourite fruit - and what a gorgeous way to convert them into a cookie.

Mishmash ! 12:24 AM  

How romantic is that pic!!! and you have done everything to make me crave for some of those biscuits :)

veron 12:27 AM  

these look wonderful, Anh! I could have these anytime of the day!

Happy cook 12:48 AM  

It looks delicious. And a unusual filling for the roll.

winedeb 1:18 AM  

You have used my favorite word, swirl, in your recipe title. So these cookies have got to be wonderful! They look so good and I can almost smell them baking! I am not used to using many liquers in baking, but I would think you would have to see what flavor they would impart to the baked goods. Take for example, Triple Sec, which would have the orange flavor to it. This is an interesting question. I will be stopping back to see what everyone else suggests.
Nice photos!

Pravs 1:19 AM  

This looks sooo delicious !! The cookie texture looks more like sponge cake. I should try out your recipes and learn more about baking. You had suggested to me about bread improver.. i have no idea what that is..thanks for suggesting. Where can i find bread improver ?

Mandy 1:27 AM  

wow Anh, these cookies are seriously pretty! Good job with the swirl! I have never tasted fig before, maybe I should....

sandeepa,  1:34 AM  

Looks lovely

Kate 3:35 AM  

Oh Anh these cookies look fantastic . I'm a big fan of Greg Malouf too :)
They look just perfect for Ramadan .

tigerfish 3:44 AM  

You are really clever in incorporating figs in swiss rolls.:D

Callipygia 4:06 AM  

Hmmm I'm thinking Grand Marnier? Anyways, these swirly biscuits are definitely the high class version of Fig Newtons. I do like the crunch of those seeds.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen 4:11 AM  

Those look so beautiful!

Homesick Texan 4:22 AM  

These are gorgeous (as are your photos), they remind me of sophisticated fig newtons!

Anh 5:33 AM  

Meeta, thanks. I believe they taste good in biscuits/cookies too.

Sophie, liqueur sometimes can overwhelm the original flavours, that 's why I wasn't keen on trying in this batch. Perhaps later I will experiment a bit!

Lydia, I have never tried Fig Newtons... Have to start googling about it now.

Mike, fresh figs are surely adorable!

maybahay , thanks.

Siri, I am a colorful gal i think ;)

Asha, I will remember to bring these when I visit ya!

Valli, thanks. These biscuits are suppose to be pale and soft.

Bee, there are so many things we can do with figs!

Shn, thanks honey. :D

Veron, I have them as snack quite often during the day, too. Great for sharing!

Happy cook, thank you.

Winedeb, I love how liqueur can enhance the taste of baked goods and dessert. But overdoing it can be a prob at time. I am hoping to try some of the readers' suggestion, too.

Pravs, thanks. I have replied your query on your blog. :)

Mandy, oh try try! I am sure you will do great job with them.

Sandeepa, thanks.

Kate, thanks! Greg Malouf is incredible, isn't he? And ya, I had this inspiration from the current Ramadan period. :)

tigerfish, thanks.. Ha, these cookies do look like swiss roll. And I guess it's not a bad idea to have them as filling in swiss roll... Only if I could bake a nice roll!

Callipygia, thanks. I really have to try those Fig Newtons now!

Jen, thanks.

Homesick Texan , thanks for your lovely comment!

Sharmi 5:33 AM  

this looks lovely. I can use this filling inside buns I think. very beautiful creation.

Wendy 6:05 AM  

VERY pretty. :) Would love one of those right now...

Amanda at Little Foodies 6:14 AM  

I bought that book a while back but haven't tried anything from it yet. It is a very beautiful book and these swirls look wonderful! I loved fig rolls when I was a child I wonder if they taste similar or even better.

Belinda 7:32 AM  

Anh, these fig swirled biscuits are just wonderful. And what a stunning presentation, as always. I like the idea of Triple Sec or Grand Marnier with figs sounds nice. :-)

bri,  7:47 AM  

Anh - Ooooo, these sound delicious. A much yummier take on fig newtons. Biscuit dough is just so tasty and versatile. Thanks for the inspiration.

Happy Homebaker 9:30 AM  

ahhh figs! I have only eaten dried ones...but just read from yesterday's papers that there are fresh ones available in the supermarket now, will love to get some to try. Your cookies look delicious!

Aimée 10:44 AM  

Anh, as usual I am amazed at your stunning photographs.These look like they would be served for afternoon tea at the Ritz.

neil 10:45 AM  

I'm jumping on the brandy bandwagon, though I think the earthiness of grappa might work well too. They look really sweet with their swirl...mmm, cup of tea time indeed!

Anh 11:45 AM  

Sharmi, you are so sweet. I think this filling can be great for buns, although you need more liquid paste.

Wendy, :)

Amanda, these are the first fis biscuits I tried, so I can't really make any comparison. But you can try and let me know!

Belinda, orangy fig? Hmmm. Not sure if I am sold for that. :D But it does sound interesting.

Bri, thanks.

happy homebaker, please try fig if you can. The fresh ones have their own flavours!

Aimee, thanks. You are so sweet...

Neil, brandy sounds like a lovely addition. I would love to add some grappa, too. Thanks for the recommendation!

Ivonne,  12:17 PM  

Oh my goodness, Anyh! What an incredible creation. The swirl is so defined and I love that you used the figs in such a creative way.

Thanks for taking part in SHF #35!

Cynthia 12:25 PM  

As always, Anh your creations and photography are out standing.

sher 2:00 PM  

Swoon! Do I like melt-in-your-mouth biscuits?? YES! Those look so fabulous, the perfect thing to have with a nice fresh cup of coffee.

Tartelette 2:30 PM  

You are going to think this is weird but I like to plump them up in plain vodka, that way I can still change the flavor of the item I am making. Cookies look great!

Anh 4:22 PM  

Ivonne, you have chosen a fantastic theme for us! I can't wait for the round up.

Cynthia, thanks sweetie.

Sher, wouldn't it be nice if one day I could bake some cookies we could all share them with some good tea/coffee?

Helen, I love your suggestion. I will start doing that for some of my dried fruits!

The Cooking Ninja 6:59 PM  

oooh...those looks really delicious. I can imagine the taste of it. :) It's the fig season here but they are so overly priced.

Gattina 8:48 PM  

Anh, these cookies (so as the photos) are work of art! I'm with you though, in this recipe I rather let fig be sole and shine! For others, I always like to pair dried figs with nuts, in that case I'd pick almond-flavored liqueur.
Btw, your dried figs look splendid, I can't help to finish them and nothing left for baking :)

Mallow 10:44 PM  

Ooo...I'll bet those are incredible...

lynn,  2:40 AM  

Your photos make me swoon! I'm sure the biscuits are tasty, but I have yet to get over the graininess of figs.

Kelly-Jane 4:21 AM  

Gorgeous biscuits, I think one of them has my name on it, mmm! :)

Sylvia 8:11 AM  

It looks delicious.I love figs dried or fresh.Awesome recipe.Uou do a great job

Retno Prihadana 1:58 PM  

I love the way you take the pictures. Beautiful swirl!

Anh 3:50 PM  

The Cooking Ninja, fresh figs are normally quite expensive even here in Oz. :(

Gattina, thanks honey. You have sharp eyes! The dried figs I got is of premium quality. There's this shop in my suburb that sells very good quality dried fruits and nuts!

Mallow, thanks.

Kelly-jane, :D. I will keep some for ya.

Sylvia, thanks for your sweet comment.

Retno Prihadana, thanks. I am quite happy with these photos, too.

Coffee & Vanilla 11:33 PM  

Again, beautiful pictures!! I love the composition.... and lovely swirls too :)

eatme_delicious 1:36 AM  

Great use of figs, the cookies look really delicious! Were they difficult to roll out though? I made rugelach once (another rolled sort of cookie like this) and the filling was falling out all over the place. Though I was using chopped nuts and chocolate pieces so I'm sure the fig mixture would stick better!

East Meets West Kitchen 1:38 PM  

Breathtaking Swirls!

Nora B. 7:34 AM  

So beautiful, Anh! I never would have thought of such a thing. I think that many amaretto could be a good liqueur to go with dried figs. As you know, I used Cointreau with my fig scrolls.

Kevin 12:48 PM  

Those look really good. You can see all of the great filling in them.

Rose 11:04 AM  

Yum! Your photos are beautiful! I made cookies with dried figs also and used dark rum for the liquor. Grand marnier might be another option if you like figs and oranges. Thanks for your lovely cookies! I'm going to try these!

Clara 3:13 AM  

Personally, I highly recommend trying the extra-virgin olive oil from
Holy Food Imports.
It is imported to the US from Israel, and it is produced using cold presses,
as was the method over 3,000 years ago; so it has a really unique taste to it.

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