Monday, 26 March 2007

Dried Fig Muffins

Dried figs are very healthy snacks. A cup of figs will give as much calcium as a cup of milk. Besides being rich in calcium, they are also high in dietary fiber and contain other minerals such as iron, potassium, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. I used to eat quite a fair bit of dried figs when I was pregnant, they are really a good alternative source of calcium since I didn't really like milk.

I didn't know that dried figs could be added to muffins until I came across this recipe from a cookbook, Muffins by Williams-Sonoma. It didn't take me too long to get a pack of dried figs to try it out.

Unlike most muffin recipes where dried fruits are simply added to the batter, this recipe recommended that the dried figs be soaked in a mixture of orange zest, apple juice and melted butter for an hour. This softened the dried figs and turned them into a rich mahogany colour. When the muffins were still baking in the oven, my kitchen was filled with this sweet and enticing "perfume" of dried figs. The pleasant aroma lingered till the muffins were completely cooled. The muffins were a little on the sweet side (although I did cut down on the sugar a little), mainly due to the figs. My little one though I have added in a candy in the muffins ! The texture was a little dense, but overall the taste was really delicious. Definitely a wholesome and healthy bake, good for breakfast or as tea-time snacks.

(makes 11 muffins)

375g dried figs
90g unsalted butter
250ml apple juice
grated zest of 1 orange
315g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g granulated sugar
60g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

  1. Remove the stem and cut dried figs into quarters.
  2. Heat apple juice and butter in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the figs and orange zest. Leave to cool until the figs are softened, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 190 degC. Grease muffin cups with butter or line with muffin liners.
  5. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugars, salt and baking powder.
  6. Make a well in the centre and add the cooled fig mixture, eggs and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Do not overmix, the batter will be slightly lumpy.
  7. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling to the rim of the cup.
  8. Bake for 20 ~ 25 mins, until golden, and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer muffin pan to cooling rack and let cool for 5 mins. Unmold the muffins and let cool completely.


Anonymous said...

Hi ...

Have not try dried figs before, how does it taste like? Where can we buy it?

I saw Williams Sonoma book today at PageOne and love his book "Cakes", it's pictorial which make it easier to read.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Elyn
Dried figs are sweet, a little chewy, and there are many tiny seeds inside the fruit. The tiny seeds will give you a "crunchy" feeling when you bite into them. You can get dried figs from Chinese medical halls (eg Fu Hua) or in markets where they sell dried goods.
I've borrowed the Cakes book by Williams Sonoma from the library. I agreed that the layout of the book is very good. However, I didn't really find any suitable recipes as most of them call for a large no. of eggs and are high in sugar. Got to watch the diet of my family members :)

The Health Conscious Shopper said...

hallo HHB
sorry to disturb u again,just wanted to ask if the full title of the book is Muffins? or? I tried doing a search in the NLBwebsite - but can't find the book. Did you borrow the book from the library or u bot a copy? if bot, can tell me how much is it? Thanks!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Canton Pixie, I borrowed this book from the library. You can do a search using the key words "Williams Sonoma", and look for "Muffins". or try under "Beth Hensperger", the call no. of the book is: English 641.8157 HEN -[COO]. Hope this helps :)

The Health Conscious Shopper said...

hallo HHB,
just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful recipe! i got the book and used your recipe, and this is my result!

i have learnt so much from u, and i am so impressed by your attention to detail - i am so lazy by comparison!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Canton Pixie, I am just being very 'lor soh'! Getting very old liao ;)

quizzine said...

Hi happyhomebaking,

really impressed with your blogs as all pictures are so beautifully taken!

so happened that i have a packet of dried fig in my cupboard for quite a while and don't know what to do with it... and now i've got the answer. will try it out soon. in fact, i did a few bakes following your other recipes, many thanks for sharing ;-)

Anonymous said...


I'm quite new in baking.
What is orange zest huh?


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ling, lemon/orange zest or rind is the outer skin of the lemon/orange. Use a grater or a zester to grate it. Remember, only use the yellow/orange part, do not use the white pith just is bitter.

hanushi said...

Hi HHB, pardon my question.
The dark brown sugar, is it the chinese black sugar (黑糖)?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hansushi, no it is not those type. I use this brand SIS Brown Sugar. In baking recipes to differentiate from light brown sugar, the term Dark brown sugar is used. Some brands of sugar will state it as dark brown sugar, some will just put brown sugar. hope this helps :)

hanushi said...

Ohhh I see... Thanks for the clarification, HHB!