Tag Archives: shortbread. sables. Cashel Blue cheese

Cashel Blue and Fig Shortbread

I find a well-appointed cheese board hard to resist.  By that I mean, not just a selection of different kinds of cheese, but nuts, jams, fruit and interesting bread or crackers. Even though I bake, I am always more tempted by salty, savory treats than sweets.  Last Saturday, I attended the annual Ireland Network Chicago Ball at the elegant Drake Hotel and was very happy that the Irish Dairy Board/Kerrygold provided a selection of wonderful Irish cheeses after dinner. I know this might seem freakish to  some of you chocoholics, but I actually passed on the chocolate mousse dessert in favor of a plate of cheese.    It reminded me that I recently experimented using Kerrygold’s Cashel Blue in a savory shortbread recipe.

I was recently intrigued by a recipe for Stilton sables (a fancy French word for thin shortbread biscuits) by Beca Lyne-Pirkis, one of the contestants in BBC’s “Great British Bake Off.”   To make it my own, I started with her basic recipe for the shortbread but substituted something Irish — Cashel Blue cheese — and something American – California black mission figs — for the British ingredients.   The dried figs benefit from being rehydrated for a few minutes before adding them to the dough.

I haven’t come across savory shortbread much in the States, but these tasty biscuits are a nice addition to a cheese board and are definitely worth trying.  They are also lovely served on their own as simple canapes when friends come round for drinks.  A bonus is the dough can be made ahead and frozen so you always have something on hand for unexpected guests.


Cashel Blue Cheese, Fig and Walnut Shortbread

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 25 shortbread biscuits

Cashel Blue Cheese, Fig and Walnut Shortbread


  • 4 oz. all purpose flour
  • 3 oz.cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 oz.cold Cashel Blue cheese, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 3 oz. dried Black Mission Figs, cut into small pieces
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 oz. walnuts, ground in a food processor


  1. Soak the chopped figs for 10 minutes in just enough cold water to just cover them. Drain.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Put the flour, butter, cheese and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs, but be careful not to over mix.
  4. Add the chopped figs and egg yolk and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Press it out to form a disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. If not baking right away, at this stage the dough can be placed in a plastic freezer bag and frozen for future use.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Grind walnuts in a food processor, then spread out on a large plate.
  8. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round biscuit cutter, cut into rounds. Coat the rounds in the ground walnuts and place on the lined baking sheets.
  9. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.