The other day, I simmered dried figs in water and pureed them for my six-month-old twin sons, who are just beginning to eat solid foods. I used the leftover fig jam as a filling for these beautiful, swirly challah loaves. Cinnamon makes an appearance twice, mixed in with the filling (along with walnuts, which add a nice crunch) and brushed on top with an egg glaze.
Cinnamon Fig Challah
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup olive oil
⅓ cup fig jam
⅓ cup walnuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Cinnamon Egg Wash
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Note: I prepared this recipe using homemade fig jam made by placing a handful of dried figs in a saucepan, covering them with water, simmering them until soft, and then pureeing them in a food processor until smooth. You can try using store-bought fig jam (I love the one from Trader Joe’s) or making it at home using fresh figs.
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Stir in warm water, olive oil, and eggs until smooth.
- Add additional 2 cups of flour a half-cup at a time (you may not need all of the flour,) stirring until a soft dough begins to form. Directly in the bowl or on a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth and elastic (the dough should spring back when poked,) adding more flour as necessary if dough is too sticky.
- Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, around 30-45 minutes.
- While dough is rising, prepare the filling: in a small bowl, combine fig jam, walnuts, and cinnamon.
- Divide dough in half and shape into two approximately 4 x 14 inch rectangles. Spread fig filling over the surface of each rectangle. Roll lengthwise (the 14 inch side) as tightly as possible, forming two long, skinny logs. Shape each log into a spiral.
- Place spiral-shaped loaves on a baking tray, at least a few inches apart, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rise for 20 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, prepare the egg wash: whisk together egg, water, and cinnamon. Brush loaves with egg wash. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on baking tray or cooling rack. Store leftovers in tinfoil or a container at room temperature.