Pecan Honey Fig Shortbread Squares

Rosh Hashanah Pecan Honey Fig Shortbread Squares. Gluten and dairy-free delicious.


It wasn’t the back–to-school frenzy for four children, or even the changing leaves that signaled the arrival of autumn when I was growing up. Fall arrived with a flourish when the house was being prepared for the upcoming Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah. After the house was cleaned from top to bottom, the food preparation began. Briskets and tsimmes were braised and frozen. Honey cake and rugelach were made. Pies were rolled and the challah, though not baked at home, was reserved from the local Jewish bakery.

My father’s only assigned task was to fetch the challah from the bakery. The long line that snaked out the door gave him a chance to kibbutz with friends, wishing them l’shana tova.  If we were lucky and he was in a good mood, that might mean he’d bring home babka and little butter cookies with fudge centers or even a black and white cookie.

Our Rosh Hashanah celebration was all about an abundance of foods prepared with traditional ingredients that made this holiday almost over-the-top special. Plenty of honey, apple and nuts were utilized in the family recipes. Today we might extend that to include pumpkin, pomegranate and even a variety of global fall fruits, fresh and dried.

The New Year festivities are solemn only in reflection of the year past but joyous in looking forward to what the coming year might bring. Traditions include eating challah in the round dipped in honey– to signify the seamless passing of one year to another, or challah studded with sweet, dried fruits to signify the hope for a sweet new year. Apples are also dipped in honey as part of the same tradition. Think of the use of honey as two-fold – to symbolize the hope for sweetness in the new year, and to satisfy that need for a sweet nosh.

Honey fig shortbread squares are quick work, but will provide a festive dessert to any holiday table. They can be baked ahead and will keep for a few days covered with foil. Slice right before serving. Using a serrated knife helps keep the squares neat.  These non dairy bars will serve 9 but can be sliced into smaller bites to serve 18.

Rosh Hashanah Pecan Honey Fig Shortbread Squares. Gluten and dairy-free delicious.

Pecan Honey Fig Shortbread Squares
Pecan Shortbread Crust
  • 90 grams shortening (8 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (heaping)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 150 grams Canteen flour blend (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 65 grams roughly chopped pecans (1/2 cup)
Honey Fig Filling
  • 350 grams dried whole figs (20-25)
  • 85 grams good quality apple butter (1/4 cup)
  • 120 grams spun honey (or any good quality honey) (6 tablespoons)
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 340 grams roughly chopped pecans (2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x9 pan with foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together shortening, vanilla, salt and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flour until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl. Add the pecans and mix until blended. Evenly press shortbread dough into the bottom of the foil lined pan. Bake the crust for 13-14 minutes. While the crust is baking prepare the filling.
  3. In a food processor, pulse together the whole figs, apple butter, honey, eggs and salt until the mixture is combined and the figs are chopped into tiny pieces. Once the crust is out of the oven, cover it with the filling and gently smooth with an offset spatula to evenly cover the crust. Press the pecans into the filling using the offset spatula.
  4. Bake for an additional 35-45 minutes or until the center is puffy and if using an instant read thermometer (a good thing to do) the center is about 185 degrees. Place the pan on a rack and cool completely – it will take a long time to cool. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil and place on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to slice into serving pieces. Makes 9 large squares or 18 smaller bars.


This recipe is cross posted to The Experiment Publishing blog here. Visit their website for information about Nosh on This and other books.

Need more GF Rosh Hashanah recipes? From the Canteen blog archives:



  1. This shortbread look great!
    Thank you for sharing..
    One question, can I use butter instead of shortening?
    Seems that all of your crust recipe made with shortening.. 🙂

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      The recipe is dairy-free so that’s why the shortening. I have not tested it using butter, so you’d have to experiment. But you could use it instead of shortening, and I’d recommend the same amount or just slightly more butter, 8.5 tablespoons. Hope that helps.

      • Oh, I’m sorry.. I don’t read “non dairy” in this recipe. 🙂
        I’ll try someday.. Thank you for your kind reply.