Monday, August 29, 2011

Peace and Prosperity, Really Just Delicious

The ancients considered them sacred and a symbol of peace and prosperity. Fig season. It is here and then gone it seems in an instant.  The season is June-ish through October-ish, all weather dependent. These little treasures are hands down my favorite fruit. I don’t remember having them growing up except maybe being given a fig newton which I was told was a cookie but when I ate it felt I had been lied to. As an adult, I can’t remember my introduction to figs or how I came to love them so and frankly it’s neither here nor there.  I look forward to fig season each year because there is nothing better than fighting the bees, wasps and birds for that just perfectly ripe fig off the tree, still warm from the sun, that practically oozes as you bite into it and literally tastes like candy.  Here are some fun things to do with them…Enjoy them while you can!

ODF (Oven Dried Figs)
Cut fresh figs into thin slices.
Dry, placed on a clean tea towel or a rack set inside a sheet pan in your oven on the lowest setting for about 4-6 hours. Store in a container with a tightly fitting lid.
Use on granola, yogurt, grilled pork, or sprinkle in a salad. Just as good to snack on all by themselves.

Figgy Vinaigrette:
I served this on an arugula salad with blue cheese, sliced Fuji apple, toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds, Yum.

1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 shallot, minced
4 ounces fresh figs, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon apple juice
3 ounces canola oil

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots until soft then add the figs and cook for about 4 minutes, or until they start to break down and are very soft. Allow this to cool a bit then place in a bender or food processor and add all the other ingredients except the oil and process until smooth. With the machine running slowly drizzle in the oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Figgy Newtons 
 For the dough:
3 oz. butter, softened
¾ cup demerara sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour

For the filling:
2 pounds fresh figs, chopped
½ cup water
½ cup demerara sugar

To make the dough:
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time then beat in the milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the salt through whole wheat pastry flour. Add the dry ingredients in batches to the wet until thoroughly combined. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

To make the filling:
Combine the figs, water and sugar in a large pot over medium heat and cook until the figs begin to breakdown, and the moisture evaporates, about 30-35 minutes. The mixture should look like loose preserves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To assemble:

I.               Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. My dough weighed about 1#8oz. total so  each dough ball was about 12 oz.

II.              Working on a silicone baking mat or parchment,  (this will help you easily move them to the pan once formed), shape the dough balls into rectangles, lightly flouring as you go to prevent sticking. 

III.            Roll the dough into 14 in. x 8 in. x ¼ in. thick rectangle like shapes.

IV.           Spread the cooled filling down the middle leaving about a 2 in. border of dough around the edge.

V.            Fold the top long edge over the filling

VI.           Fold the bottom long edge up and over lap with the dough from the top.

VII.         Fold up the ends AND   

Bake in a 350° for 25-30 minutes until golden! Allow to cool 
then slice into 1 inch strips (they kinda look like biscotti)

*** Note: if you want to use dried figs instead of fresh use 2 cups dried and chopped figs and about 3 cups of apple juice and ¼ cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until softened about 30-40 minutes.  Then cool, etc. If you would like a smoother filling puree the filling mixture until desired consistency.

*** My friends Terry, Glenna, and Claire told me about a recipe that our other friend Donna had made with figs. I didn’t have time to make it but thought it was pretty cool idea. They all said it was delicious!

-Enjoy! V


  1. I've never really had figs before...but I'll admit you've made me curious about them!

  2. You are going to love them!!! They are like candy out of hand and so versatile. Sweet, savory, FUN!