It’s a simple fact: Figs are good for so much more than figgy pudding. Fresh figs are in abundance for a relatively short period of time in the late summer and early fall, so it’s a good idea to make use of their mellow, sweet flavor in your cooking and baking right this instant!
Photo via Baking Steel
Curious about how to use figs in your kitchen adventures?
Look no further. Here, we’ll offer you a bounty of inspiring ideas for how to use fresh figs in cooking and baking. From open-ended preparation techniques that can be used in a number of different recipes to specific inspirations for both sweet and savory dishes, you’ll be getting figgy wit it (sorry, couldn’t resist) in no time.
4 ways to prepare figs for all kinds of culinary creations
If you prepare fresh figs in one of these ways, you’ll be able to use them in a multitude of recipes both sweet and savory.
1. Broiled figs
It doesn’t get much easier than making broiled figs. All you have to do is set your oven to BROIL (on low, if you have the option), then cut the figs in half and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the sheet under the broiler, and bake until toasty on the edges.
This can take between 2-5 minutes depending on your oven; broil settings can vary quite dramatically. Broiled figs can be used to accompany meat main dishes, tossed in salads, drizzled with honey and served with yogurt, or served alongside wine and cheese.
2. Fig spread
One of the best ways to preserve the flavor of figs is to make a DIY fig spread. Following a recipe like this, you can transform figs into a delicious spread that can be used in homemade Fig Newtons, added to buttered toast, or used as a cupcake or cake filling.
3. Dried figs
You can make your own dried figs, which taste way better than the store-bought variety!
To make dried figs, cut the stems off of the figs and if desired, slice. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at your oven’s lowest temperature, turning every few hours, until they have dried to your desired level. This can take anywhere from 8-12 hours, so be sure to do this when you’re not going to be leaving your house for a while!
4. Grilled figs
Go ahead, put some sliced figs on the grill (or use a grill pan indoors) and cook until slightly charred to your liking. Grilled figs are a great side dish, dessert topping, or eat-alone snack. I like them with a little smear of goat cheese on top.
4 savory ideas for figs
1. Bacon-wrapped figs
You’ve probably seen bacon- or prosciutto-wrapped dates as appetizers at high-end restaurants. Try the trend at home by making bacon-wrapped figs!
Wash and dry the figs, cutting off the stems. Smear with goat cheese or ricotta, then use the cheese as “glue” to wrap a piece of cooked bacon around the perimeter. Seal with a toothpick and serve as an elegant salty-sweet appetizer.
2. Fig pizza
The natural sweetness of sliced figs on top of pizza (pictured at the top of the post) makes for a crave-worthy combination. This recipe, which features arugula, balsamic and fresh figs, is bound to make a flavor impression (and entice you to enjoy another slice!).
3. Figs on salad
Figs have the power to transform a salad from so-so to spectacular. Particularly on salads that include bitter or astringent ingredients such as arugula, figs can offer a pleasantly contrasting mellow sweetness. The salad above is garnished with broiled figs.
4. Grilled cheese
If you’ve never tried grilled cheese with figs added, then you’ve been missing out on one of life’s most pleasurable moments. Simply stack thin slices of fig (or broiled fig or a smear of fig spread) between your cheeses on your next grilled cheese and enjoy the crave-worthy flavor.
4 sweet ideas for figs
1. Fig pie
Photo via Nancie McDermott
Fresh, seasonal fruit is always a good choice in pie. Figs are no exception! As proved by this fresh fig pie recipe from Nancie McDermott, figs can create a wonderfully naturally sweet pie that gives you a true taste of fig season. Oh, and it’s incredible with ice cream.
Check out more of Nancie’s memorable desserts in her Craftsy class Classic Pies Made Easy.
2. Figs with honey and yogurt or ice cream
Remember that idea about broiling figs? How ’bout dousing them with honey before you broil them, and then serving them with a little more honey and some yogurt or ice cream? It’s simple perfection.
3. Muffins, pancakes and quick breads
Fresh fig is a delicious addition to muffins, pancakes and quick breads. Simply fold chopped fresh figs into the batter as you would any other fruit such as blueberries. You’ll be delighted by the unique flavor and extreme moisture that fresh figs impart on your goodies!
4. Fig upside-down cake
Photo via Broma Bakery
You’ve heard of pineapple upside-down cake. Why not swap out the canned pineapple for fresh figs? Broma Bakery blog’s recipe allows you to make an upside-down masterpiece of cake art using sliced figs, which form a beautifully caramelized texture on top of the cake.