these orange infused fig biscuits are the result of a winding journey that included versions with various types of cheese (where the cheese was either not noticeable or not a positive addition), a soak in port for the figs (because we all have bottles of port lying around waiting for our next biscuit craving to strike…), and one particularly bizarre version that involved ricotta cheese and jam (it sounds good in theory, right? maybe?).
anyway, all of these experiments have been going on over the course of the past year and a half. i first found the original recipe in the spring of 2015 (shortly before i started this blog) and, after making it according to the recipe exactly one time, tweaks and changes and improvements began swirling around in my head.
right away i decided that these fig biscuits would be excellent with leftovers from the big spiral ham that is part of our family’s christmas celebrations. given that it was may at the time, i bought a bit of sliced ham from the deli to verify and confirmed that i was on the right track.
then, as i alluded to, i tinkered with the cheese. the original recipe called for cheddar, which i either couldn’t detect or thought made the biscuits taste like cheez-its (which i don’t like…), depending on what cheddar i used.
frustrated with cheddar, i tried swapping in goat cheese, but it was so subtle that it didn’t seem worth it. at that point, i decided that rather than bake the cheese into the biscuits, i would recommend serving them with cheese.
i then turned my attention to the dried figs, which even without the cheese cluttering up the flavors, still didn’t really pack the figgy flavor punch that i was hoping for (does anyone else have “so bring us some figgy pudding” stuck in their head these days? such a demanding christmas carol!). searching around both online and in my cabinets for something to soak the figs in to boost their flavor, i settled on port. i blame the interwebs and the fact that we randomly had a bottle of port for this detour into fussiness.
the port bath did boost the fig flavor, but when i went to make the next round of biscuits and didn’t have a bottle of port just sitting around, i realized i had zero interest in buying another bottle. back to the drawing board interwebs for other ideas. i realized balsamic vinegar would be a good substitute from a “what i always have in my cupboard” standpoint and, after trying it, confirmed that it worked from a flavor perspective too.
and then, just because i like orange infused baked goods (here and here, previously) and orange pairs so nicely with figs, i added the zest of an orange to these biscuits. it’s totally optional, though, in case you don’t share my enthusiasm for orange infused yums.
either way, i think these orange infused fig biscuits would be a tasty addition to, oh, say, any meal around the holidays. i have more specific ideas coming next week for turning the biscuits into little ham sandwiches but i have also found these fig biscuits to be super delicious split open and smeared with a bit of goat cheese, then drizzled with honey. (aaaaand cue the cravings for said pairing. i really need to start writing up these little stories while i still have some of the food left to nibble on…) those are just my ideas though – i’m curious to hear how you serve them; let us know in the comments!
- 112 g. (¾ cup / 4 oz.) diced dried figs
- ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz.) balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 360 g. (3 cups / 12 5/8 oz.) all purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 ½ sticks (170 g. / 3/4 cup / 6 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) cold buttermilk, see notes
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg, beaten, to brush the biscuits before baking, optional
- room temperature goat cheese, recommended for serving
- honey, recommended for serving
- set a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- combine the figs, balsamic vinegar, and water in a small pan. simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat and drain. lay out on paper towels and pat dry then set aside.
- fit the metal blade in the bowl of the food processor. add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. pulse for a second to combine everything. add the cold butter cubes and pulse for 15 – 30 seconds, until the butter is broken down into pieces that range in size from oat flake to green pea.
- in a 2 cup glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg; beat lightly. pour the wet ingredients into the flour/butter then run the food processor until the dough comes together in a shaggy lump.
- lightly flour the counter then turn the dough out onto the counter (be careful of the blade that may be stuck in the dough). add the figs to the dough and knead the figs into the dough just until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- pat or roll the dough out until it is 1” (2.5 cm) thick. use a bench scraper/sharp knife/pizza cutter to cut the dough into (12 – 14) 2” (5 cm) x 2” (5 cm) squares. if you’re planning to serve these as sandwiches and would rather have (8) 4” (10 cm) squares, that works too (you may need to add a minute or two of bake time). transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet (the bench scraper is helpful here to get the biscuits off the counter intact). if you’d like, brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash to promote even browning and give them a glossy finish (i frequently don’t bother). bake for 14 – 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. serve warm. they are especially good split open then topped with some softened goat cheese and a drizzle of honey.
if you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute ½ cup plain greek yogurt and ¼ cup milk. i use fat free yogurt and milk but you can use whatever you have. buttermilk is usually low fat but not fat free.
leftovers are best cooled on a rack and enjoyed the same day or frozen in an airtight container. let thaw then pop them in the toaster oven to reheat.
adapted from joy the baker’s sweet and savory buttermilk biscuits.
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