Sunday, 9 September 2007

SHF # 35: Fig, Date and Walnut Scrolls

Semi-dried figs

The theme for Sugar High Friday (SHF) #35 is "The Beautiful Fig" and it was chosen by Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. Figs and I have had a long, sometimes bumpy relationship. An excerpt:

1. Figs & Sand
My first encounter with figs: When I was a young girl, vistors from the middle east brought many gifts; including dates and dried figs. I loved dates immediately. Then I had my first bite of a dried fig and it was awful – I thought, "THERE IS SAND IN MY FIG!" I totally did not expect the grainy texture. But I saw how much my grandmother enjoyed the figs so I pretended that I liked it too. After I learnt that the “sand” was actually the seeds of the figs, I quickly grew to like them and even enjoy the contrast between the moist flesh and grainy seeds.

"Sand" in dried figs

2. Warning: Odour Pollution of Dried Figs

Do not bring dried figs on a camping trip. Especially if you are sharing a two-person tent. Need I say more…?

3. Fresh Figs – a beautiful late discovery
I finally tasted fresh figs as an adult, while travelling overseas (fresh figs are uncommon in Singapore) – now that was love at first bite! I especially love it quartered and roasted, served with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzled with a sticky botrytis Semillon or honey.

4. Figs are sticky
Fresh figs have an affinity for my running shoes. When fig season is here, I know it straight away because after each run through a particular park that has lots of fig tees, I have to painstakingly remove the stickiest squashed figs off my running shoes.

Now on to the recipe... Fresh figs are not currently in season in the southern hemisphere, so I've decided to use semi-dried figs. They are more moist then the typical dried figs. These scrolls were so good that Quikong and I polished off half of it as soon as it was out of the oven. The Cointreau glaze makes it extra special. I also suggest using a glaze scented with rosewater. I think that it goes well with both figs and dates.

Fig, Date and Walnut Scrolls

Makes 10-12 mini scrolls

90ml milk
1 large egg, room temperature
225g / 2 cups unbleached white flour
½ tsp salt
25 g / 2 tbsp caster sugar
25g butter, softened
1 tsp easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast

15g butter, melted
60 g semi-dried figs, stems removed & chopped
40 g dates, chopped
50g walnuts, chopped
40g soft light brown sugar, mixed with
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbps Cointreau (or orange juice)
3 tbsp icing sugar

(or 2 tsp water
1 tsp rosewater
3 tbsp icing sugar)


Pour the milk into the bread machine pan. Add the egg.

Sprinkle over the flour, ensuring that it completely covers the liquid. Add the salt, sugar and butter in three separate corners of the pan. Make a small indent in the centre of the flour (but not down as far as the liquid) and add the yeast.

Set the bread machine to the basic dough setting. Press start.

Lightly grease a 7-inch square or round cake tin. When the dough cycle has finished and dough has doubled in bulk, remove the dough from the machine and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Knock the dough back (punch it down) gently, then roll it out to form a rectangle (16 x 12 inches)

Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle it with the dried fruits, nuts and brown sugar/spice mix.

Starting from one long edge, roll the dough up, Swiss (jelly) roll fashion. Press the edges together to seal. Cut the roll into 10-12 slices and then place these cut side up in the prepared tin. Do not put them too close together because during the second rising, they will almost double in size.

Cover with an oiled clear film (plastic wrap). Leave to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, or until the dough slices have almost doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200° C.

Bake the scrolls for 15-20 minutes, or till they have risen well and are evenly golden all over. Be careful not to over bake because you want it still very luscious and slightly moist. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

While the scrolls are still warm, prepare the glaze. Mix the icing sugar with the Cointreau. Brush the mixture on the scrolls or drizzle it over the scrolls. Serve slightly warm.

Dough recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Bread and Bread machines by C. Ingram & J. Shapter.


Kelly Mahoney said...

Nora, it looks delicious! My dad brought us figs back from Turkey once and they were phenomenal. Your use of all these great ingredients in a familiar dish is really interesting. And the color is great! I have a tendency to burn my cinnamon rolls.

Lydia said...

Clearly, you and figs have made peace -- those scrolls are to die for!

Kevin said...

Those look good and sound great. Figs, dates, walnuts and an orange glaze... mmm...

Cynthia said...

That was so funny: there is sand in my figs :)

Big Boys Oven said...

OMG! so lovely so creative... will definitely try them out!

veron said...

ha ha, i did think the figs were quite sandy too. Love your stories about your figgy ecounters. My hubby turned me to figs, now he is sorry he did because he has competition for the precious fruit.

veron said...

Those scrolls look deliciously homey,by the way.

Janet said...

This looks so good! I am still trying to decide what to make for my SHF entry...

Wendy said...

I just can't get a decent fig up here! It's very frustrating!

Stephen said...

Nora, the first time I ate figs I had the same reaction. Now if you put a plate of figs and proscutto in front of me I won't stop eating until they're gone.

tigerfish said...

I just tried fresh figs for the first time this week! Still trying to get used to the's nothing sweet and yet not tasteless.

Tartelette said...

That looks just scrumptious! I can imagine the beauty of waking up to one of those!

Nora B. said...

Kelly Mahoney – Thank you. Due to the sugar content in the cinnamon rolls, it can easily burn I think, so you are not alone there. I usually tend to under-bake them. This is one of the few times that I got it just right.
p/s: The dried figs in the photo are from Turkey.

Lydia – yes, we have made peace :-). Thank you. Now I’m wishing that I made two batches of those scrolls.

Kevin – Thanks. I do think it’s a good combination.

Cynthia – I don’t think I ever told my family that story till now. :-)

Big Boys Oven – Thank you. If you try it, let me know what you think.

veron – Glad to know that someone else had a sandy encounter too. I usually hide dried figs from my partner due to reasons mentioned in point 2 (lol!). Can’t wait for fresh fig season!!!

Janet – Thank you. I’m sure that you’ll come up with something fabulous. You are so creative!

Wendy – Do you mean fresh figs? I would be frustrated too.

Stephen – Figs and proscutto are definite made for each other!

tigerfish – I envy you – your have fresh figs! If your figs don’t taste that sweet, try it like how I described in point 3 in my post.

Tartelette – Thank you. You can actually do the first rising in the evening, prepare the scrolls and then let it rise the second time round in the fridge. This way, you will have scrolls that are oven ready the next morning.

Aimée said...

Nora, these look so decadent! I must try them from my next brunch.

Anh said...

A very creative idea indeed! I love figs, too. You have doen an exceptional job for the SHF!

Ivonne said...

What an entertaining post and your scrolls are just gorgeous!

Thanks so much for taking part in SHF #35!

Toni said...

For some reason, I adore figs. I love them fresh, I love them dried, I love them in pastries. And this combo of figs with dates and walnuts? Puh-leez! Hand it over, girl!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Beautiful and they sound wonderful. Love your fig memoirs too.

Margaret said...

I love figs - in moderation - what a wonderful way to use them. The photograph has brought them to life.

valentinA said...

hi Nora, these scrolls look really great & would be perfect on a Sunday brunch or for an afternoon tea!

Valli said...

The bread machine would make the whole process much quicker Nora. Have to get to the best part as quickly as possible!!!! I have had company so have missed a couple of your delicious posts. Alas...the world does not revolve around me..wink..wink...How can these rolls get any sweeter!!!!

Kelly-Jane said...

Well I like figs, dates and walnuts, if only I lived a little closer....these are real beauties =)

Nora B. said...

Aimée & Valentina – Thank you. I made it for afternoon tea, but we ended up having it for lunch! :-)

Anh – Thank you, you are so sweet!

Ivonne – Thanks, it was fun writing this post. And thanks again for hosting this month’s SHF.

Toni – We are both in the pro-fig camp I see. I would have gladly shared half my loot with you if you lived closer. :-)

Amanda – Thanks. They were especially good fresh out of the oven, but also zapped in the microwave for a few seconds the next day.

Margaret – Thank you. I do have them in moderation too. I think it’s a good way to enjoy most things. :-)

Valli – The bread maker is a real time saver. I still make bread by hand when I feel like it.
p/s: I was wondering where you’ve been because I kept checking your blog to see what you are up to and it was unusual not to see anything new every few days. I hope that you have been enjoying your time with your visitors.

Kelly-Jane – Thank you. I’ve thought the same thing every time I check out your blog. Your desserts and savoury meals are all so enticing.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

What a wonderful dish of fig, date and walnut scrolls! :)

Cate said...

I've never been a big fan of figs, but yours look so delicious!

winedeb said...

I am sitting here at 7:30 in the morning having a cup of tea and I am reading and looking at those great scrolls thinking, "Wow, wish I had one of those to go with my tea right about now"!

Truffle said...

What a fantastic recipe. You've really outdone yourself. I adore figs and just love what you've done with them.

lynn said...

Beautiful rolls! I have not been able to get beyond the "sand in my figs."

Nora B. said...

East Meets West Kitchen - Thank you :-)

Cate - Thanks. I think that the combination of figs, dates and walnuts would be enjoyable for non-fig lovers. And of course the Cointreau glaze helps!

Oh Deb, I am wishing the same thing! I wish I make a bigger batch. When I do that, I underbake the scrolls, freeze it without glazing. When the craving comes, the scrolls can be defrosted (e.g. in microwave), and baked for 5 minutes & glazed.

Truffle - Thank you. The combination of ingredients just made sense. Wouldn't it be wonderful when the time comes that we can get fresh figs again?

Lynn - Thanks. Yes, that "sand" part is hard to get over. I started young! ;-)

bee said...

amazingly beautiful pictures. you have a wonderful blog.

Kate said...

these scrolls look very very delicious , and with 2 of my most fav ingredients.Your entire house must've smelled like heaven while u were bakin them. U got my 10/10 for this one.

Susan said...

You are FABULOUS! You have incorporated three of my all time favorite foods into one heavenly treat--figs, dates, and walnuts. Though fresh and dried figs are markedly different, I love them both and could never get enough.

Nora B. said...

bee - Thanks for dropping by and now I've discovered your blog. I enjoyed your most recent post because I love lavender.

Kate - Thanks so much Kate, and I'm glad your left a comment because I used to read your blog often but somehow lost touch when you went away in May. I'm glad that I've found it again :-)

Susan - Awww, thanks Susan. You're right to say that dried and fresh figs are very different. I am just counting the days when fresh figs will be in season again.

Rose said...

I didn't know dried figs are "polluitng". Now I know why...
I love fresh figs too. My grandma used to have a fig tree and eventhough I used to be sensitive to its skin when I was a little girl, I couldn't stop eating it. I enjoy it very much with goat cheese and Brie, yum, yum.
These scrolls are lovely and you know how much I love dates. Can I have some, please?

Belinda said...

They look out of this world yummy...what could be better than a fresh cinnamon roll? A fresh cinnamon roll variation with FIGS! I bet they were delicious. :-) And they look so pretty too.

Susan said...

As if figs weren't divine enough, you have to go and glaze them with rosewater! Nora, these are truly hypnotizing. And you're a hoot; you get figs stuck in your running shoes! I get chewing gum stuck in mine. ; }

Nora B. said...

Rose - How wonderful that your grandma had a fig tree. Figs with goat cheese and Brie sounds heavenly. I'm glad that you didn't have to miss out.

Belinda - Thank you. They were delicious. It was hard to stop at one, so I decided they were mini scrolls or three would be a good number to have :-)

Susan - Thanks Susan. I am actually surprised with everyone's positive response to this post. I didn't realize there were so many fig & date lovers out there. Hmm...I wonder which is harder to remove, figs or chewing gum? ;-)

Mansi Desai said...

Wow, figs, walnus and dates- all 3 are my personal favourites!there's no way there could be anything less than marvellous abou this recipe!:)

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Wow, I did not realize that poppy seeds are banned in some countries! That is scary... I wouldn't be able to live in Singapore then... no poppy seeds on my bread?!
Beautiful scrolls by the way :)
Greetings, Margot

Eva said...

Gosh, I missed out on a lot of stuff during my trip! In case you didn't notice yourself, your photography skills have improved tremendously - I especially love your ingredients shots!
How shall I ever catch up on all of my usual blog reading...?

Nora B. said...

Mansi Desai - Thanks for dropping by. This was my first time making these scrolls, so I was thrilled at how well it turned out.

Margot - Yes, there a lot of things that are not allowed in Singapore. Chewing gum is also banned. ;-)

Eva - Welcome back!!! Yes, you have a lot of blog reading to catch up with ;-) Thanks about noticing my photography skills. Imagine what I can do with a "proper" camera! ;-) I think it's got a lot to do with getting proper lighting. So I can only take photos in the weekends when i am at home in the daytime.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hey Nora! It's great to be back finally and blogging again. Thanks for the 'thoughtful blogger' award, it was way too difficult to get on the internet when I was on holidays so I just gave up in the end. Just trying to catch up now with all that I've missed. Thanks again.
I have never tried figs before, maybe because it looks sticky. Maybe I'll pick one up when they're in season :o)

Nora B. said...

Hi Carol,
I hope that you had a wonderful holiday. You are most welcome - you have always been so helpful and thoughtful, so naturally I thought of you when I was passing on the award.

Fresh figs are divine. So do try it when the season comes around - it's also for such a short time.

Antonia said...

Ooh - these look wonderful. I bet they smell good too. I just want to reach into the computer and grab one right away! I associate dried figs and dates with Christmas and think these would make a great treat on Christmas morning! Delighted to have discovered your blog this morning - happy cooking!