Skip To Content

Buttery Olive Biscuits (Scourtins)

A scourtin, an ancient press to mash cured olives, is also the name of a very old biscuit, now served as an appetizer with drinks, a specialty of Nyons, in the south of France, a town that had a Jewish population from at least the thirteenth century and where many Jews fleeing south during World War II took refuge.

I have changed the formula to make these biscuits, prepared from butter and sugar as well as bits of olive left in the press, a bit less sweet and with salt only sprinkled on top. They are delectable served alone or spread with a creamy Provençal cheese and, of course, a glass of wine.

Editor’s Note: They’re also the perfect accompaniment to our collection of delicious Hanukkah cocktails.

Yield: about 2 dozen

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup cured black Picholine or Moroccan black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, drained
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon sea salt for sprinkling

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until the butter is soft and pale yellow. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the flour and mix gentry but thoroughly until the dough is smooth, then add the olives and fennel seed and mix until they are incorporated into the dough.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and mold into a cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter and about 11 inches long. Wrap with waxed or parchment paper and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a very sharp knife, slice the dough into ¼-inch rounds and put them about ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sea salt.

Bake until golden, about 15–20 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Reprinted with permission from “King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking From Around the World” by Joan Nathan. (Alfred A. Knopf)

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.