Figs one of nature’s oldest and most nutritious fruits

Published 9:51 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dried figs are nothing compared to the delicacy of a perfectly ripe fig. While considered a fruit, and the only one to ripen while still on the tree, the fig is actually a flower.

Their nutritional value is quite impressive, having 1,000 times more calcium than any other fruit and the highest fiber and mineral content of all fruits, nuts, or vegetables. Extremely high in magnesium, figs are 80 percent higher in potassium than bananas and have more iron than any other common fruit.

The best advantage of all – no more than 40 calories per fig.


6 halved, fresh figs

1-pint blackberries

6 peeled, cored, diced ¼ inch, Granny Smith apples

½ cup sugar

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Grated zest of ½ lemon

1 beaten egg

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/3 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

Dash of salt

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

3 Tbsp. salted butter

2 Tbsp. sugar

In a mixer bowl, combine figs, blackberries, apples, sugar, lemon, and zest. Spoon into a large cast iron skillet, scraping mixer bowl almost clean. In the same bowl, beat the egg and add sugar. Add milk and mix. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix. With your fingers, cut in the shortening and butter, using small amounts at a time. Knead gently, adding more flour so that dough is not sticky. Break off chunks of dough and top the fruit, covering the entire surface. Press dough partially down into the fruit mixture. Sprinkle top with sugar. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 40 minutes or until dough is golden and fruit is bubbly.


1-gallon figs

½ gallon water

1 Tbsp. baking soda

½ gallon sugar

1 thinly sliced lemon

1 cup chopped pecans

In a deep pan, place figs. Boil just enough water to fully cover figs. Add soda to water. Pour over figs and soak 1 hour. Drain and rinse figs.  Put sugar in a deep pan with just enough water to dissolve it, and boil 10 minutes. Add lemon, pecans, and figs. Cook at low to medium heat until preserved and syrup is thick. Pour into jars and seal.


1 Tbsp. melted butter

¼ cup minced shallots

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 cup chicken broth

6 chopped fresh figs

½ cup whipping cream

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Whole baked figs

In a skillet, melt butter. Saute shallots 2 minutes or until tender. Add 2 Tbsp. vinegar, and simmer 1 minute or until vinegar evaporates. Add chicken broth, and simmer 4 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Add figs and whipping cream, and simmer 4 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar and simmer 2 minutes or until sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over whole baked figs with pork or chicken. Garnish with parsley.


3 beaten eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. allspice

1 cup ground walnuts

1 ½ cups chopped fresh figs

Steam figs 15 minutes until plump. Drain. Chop and set aside. In a mixer, beat eggs. Add buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Add flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Mix well. Add walnuts and figs. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan, two 9” cake pans, or four small loaf pans. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 50 minutes or until done. While hot, pour butter glaze over cake. Return to oven until slightly brown and bubbly. An alternative is to ice the top and between layers with a cream cheese and walnut icing. Garnish with fresh fruits.


½ cup buttermilk

1 cup sugar

¾ cup butter

½ tsp. soda

In a saucepan, combine all, and cook until sauce reaches the soft ball stage.


1 Tbsp. salted butter

14 fresh figs

2 Tbsp. sugar


½ cup honey

Juice of ½ lemon

2 Tbsp. salted butter

Melt butter in a shallow baking dish and place the figs. Sprinkle figs with sugar and bake in a 400-degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until fruit is soft. Cool. For the glaze, in a heavy saucepan, combine honey and lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes until it thickens. Stir in butter and continue to cook until mixture caramelizes.


1 beaten egg

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup softened, salted butter

10 oz. finely chopped walnuts

In a mixer, beat egg. Add sugar, vanilla, flour, butter, and walnuts. Mix well. Divide the mixture, and press into two greased tart pans. Chill 1 hour. Bake the crusts in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. (Any nut can be used. Makes 2, 8-10-inch tart shells)

To assemble the tart, place the cooked figs with stem ends up in the baked nut crust. Spoon glaze over figs. In a skillet, saute 3 Tbsp. walnut halves in 1 Tbsp. salted butter. Garnish tart with walnuts.


2 store-bought pie crusts

8 oz. goat cheese

4 halved, fresh brown figs

3 beaten eggs

¾ cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Unroll pastry dough and line two greased tart pans. Prick bottoms. Prebake crusts in a 350-degree oven for 12 minutes. Divide the goat cheese and fig halves between the two pans, placing figs cut side up. In a mixer, beat eggs. Add cream, chives, and parmesan. Salt and pepper. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes or until set. Cool and serve.


24 small or 12 large figs

1/3 cup honey

½ cup fresh orange juice (or lemon)

¼ cup brandy or Grand Marnier

4 bay leaves

Orange zest (or lemon)

½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

In a baking dish, place figs. Prick figs in a few places to absorb juices. In a mixer, combine honey, orange juice, and brandy or Grand Marnier and pour over figs. Add water until liquid covers the bottom of dish about a ¼ inch high. Tuck in bay leaves and orange zest. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, basting occasionally. To serve, top with a sweetened yogurt and sprinkle with hazelnuts.


2/3 cup Calvados (apple brandy)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups dried black Mission figs

In the Calvados, simmer figs 5-10 minutes until tender and not mushy. Turn occasionally to make sure each side is poached evenly. Do not overcook. Serve alongside dessert cake.


1 pkg. of bacon

2 Tbsp. retained bacon grease

3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

8 fresh figs, halved lengthwise

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

½ tsp. paprika

Cut bacon into 16-1 inch pieces. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to platter and drain. Add maple syrup to 2 Tbsp. of retained bacon grease. In the skillet, arrange figs in a single layer, and cook 5 minutes or until soft and caramelized. Place figs cut side up on a separate platter and press piece of bacon onto each fig. In the skillet, add vinegar to juices. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute until syrup consistency. Drizzle syrup over figs and sprinkle with paprika.


¾ cup whipped cream

1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

12 stemmed fresh figs

4 oz. thin prosciutto

24 walnut halves

Whip cream. Crush mint leaves in a bowl and add lemon. Let stand for 30 minutes. Discard mint leaves. Add to whipped cream. Cut figs lengthwise. Place a walnut half on each fig half. Wrap with a thin slice of prosciutto. Broil figs within 6 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes, making sure not to burn. On each serving plate, pour the whipped cream mixture and top with wrapped fig halves.


½ cup chopped pecans

8 oz. softened cream cheese

Fresh figs

In a processor, chop pecans. Add cream cheese to pecans and process until smooth. Slice a fresh fig in half, cutting lengthwise. Spoon 1 tsp. of cheese mixture into each fig half. Sprinkle with more pecan pieces.

Hints: To stuff figs, steam for 15 minutes until soft and plump. Cut slits in the sides of the figs and stuff with a filling of your choice. When selecting a fig, pick one with a rich color that is plump and unbruised, with no broken skin. Fresh figs should have a mild aroma. If they smell sour, they have started to spoil.  To keep a pie crust from getting soggy, prebake in a 350-degree oven for 12 minutes.