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Fresh Figs - what to do

My landlord is the sweetest man, and just gave us about a dozen figs from the yard. I'm not a big fig fan, so I'm not sure what I can do with them. I was wondering if I could make a fig jam with that small of a quantity. I'm having a brunch on sunday and thought that might be nice on some scones.

Any ideas?

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  1. Lucky you! I bet you could make a fig compote pretty easily - just cook the figs down with a little liquor and some sugar.

    I like to do grilled figs. I brush them with a little oil, sprinkle on some sugar (depending on how sweet the figs are to begin with), then grill them until they're a bit caramelized. I serve them for dessert with a dollop of creme fraiche.

    1 Reply
    1. re: WtotheN

      I've roasted them too but, put them on ice cream. So good.

    2. Lucky you, all my landlord ever brings me is heartbreak. What a nice gift. Fresh figs are kinda rare and pricy where I am (Brooklyn).

      I don't know what variety of figs you have or the weight, you may have about 1 1/2 to two cups total, but you could definitely make a small batch of fig jam or preserves, and just keep it in the frig instead of processing (canning) it. The simplest recipe I have has sugar, fresh lemon juice, lemon or orange, fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick, no pectin or anything else.

      For 2 lbs of stemmed halved figs, combine two lbs of sugar with the juice from one large lemon, add the figs and let set for an hour or so to macerate, then add the cinnamon stick and one 1 inch slice of fresh ginger, tied in cheesecloth, one thinly sliced, deseeded lemon; bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring often, until you can do the spoon test, or it's thick enough for your taste. Weight of figs should equal weight of sugar, or if you're using volume measurement, it should be 1:1. You can sub a thinly sliced orange for the lemon, and add some grated orange peel, but be sure to use the lemon juice.

      Alternately, a nice fresh fig tart may be a great brunch dessert, quartered or halved and arranged in a baked tart shell filled with a orange scented pastry cream and glazed with a little sieved apricot jam or melted apple jelly. Mm, sounds good, but the jam is probably less work.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        You can get them at the fruit/vegetable makets: Circus fruits on 60th & fort hamilton or 3 guy from Brooklyn 65th & fort hamilton for pretty cheap. I saw them last night but I can't remember how much. I get them in my backyard in Brooklyn.

        1. re: funniduck

          I had a friend who had a fig tree in his backyard here also, so I guess they winter over ok; he used to wrap the tree with burlap. I had an apricot tree here too, until it blew over in a strong storm.

          Supermarkets in my current neighborhood don't know what figs are, I swear. Fort Hamilton is quite aways from where I am, but thanks for the info. I could probably get them downtown, maybe at the famer's market.

      2. The grilled figs sound pretty enticing. I'm gonna have to try that one!

        Still, probably my favorite way to enjoy fresh figs though is very simply...either on their own or wrapped with a paper thin slice of prosciutto.

        1. That is lucky! Are they the kind that look like a heart when you slice them?

          1. The fig jam is so easy to make - follow the recommendations of the commenters above. One of my favorite appetizers is crostini with a smear of fig jam (I put a splash of port in mine), with a slice of apple and a slice of parm on top. That may be good for your brunch!

            1. Oh I love figs! This breakfasty cake would be an excellent place for them if you're making brunch!


              1. Lightly caramelized figs + seared scallops on top of a bed of couscous with fresh tomatoes, cuke, onion, parsley... oh god...

                2 Replies
                1. re: cutipie721

                  good lord, that sounds phenomenal! Is this your own creation or did you have this in a restaurant somewhere?
                  Sounds simply incredible.

                  Another one for my must try list...

                  1. re: The Professor

                    I had that at a restaurant. I only remember the scallop+fig part lol. The base I had at the restaurant was something tomato-y and I totally forgot what it was. It was a Mediterranean restaurant so I figured I would make something similar to go with it.

                2. Put them on a pizza with caramelized onions and goat cheese. Or send them to me. We fight over figs in this house.

                  1. I like them roasted- Make a small slit, insert a piece of cheese ( I use Manchego, or a blue) wrap in a piece of Prosciutto and roast at about 350 until Prosciutto crisps up a bit great either warm or at room temp

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mmalmad

                      I'm sitting here reading this and eating some figs I grilled last night: fresh mozz inside, a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar and wrapped in some cheap ($5.99!) proscuitto that cooked up like bacon. Good hot last night, just as good cold this morning. My local chain (Waldbaums) has been selling whole flats of 24 figs rather than the little pints, only $8.99, so I've been getting very creative.

                      1. re: coll

                        Wow, what a breakfast, not bad on the $$ either. Mrbushy and I were just racking our brains on where we could find figs in our hood for less than an arm and a leg.

                        Quick question, do you soak the dried fruit for the tadenade first? I don't know if my FP would do an adequate job of chopping it finely.


                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          I don't, because the dried apricots I get from BJs are really soft, and once you try it you'll see how quick and easy the whole thing whips up. I think I do cut them into a couple of pieces first. If I soaked them, maybe I'd try some port or white wine, but that's me (all the way!)

                          1. re: coll

                            OK, got it. I'm anxious to try this, it sounds so delicious.

                    2. Continuing my unintentional promotion campaign for Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking . . . there's a stovetop (not canned) fig spread with black pepper and sesame seeds therein which I made last week. Texturally and visually it was beautiful, but as it turns out, I'm not a big fig fan, either. Live and learn. Can paraphrase for you if you want.

                      I got some of those nifty Ball freezer jars - the plastic ones, although I'm not huge on plastic for long-term storage they were the right size so oh well - and am going to try freezing it. I considered making this my maiden voyage into actual canning, but my Joy of Cooking said Never Never Never Can Figs Or Everyone You Love Will Die, and who am I to argue?

                      1. I think I may have posted this before, but I love this spread around this time of year.

                        FIG TAPENADE

                        1 ½ cups of fresh figs, and also some plums if you have (same season)
                        1/4 cup dried apricots, or any dried fruit
                        handful of toasted pignolia nuts
                        ½ cup Kalamata olives pitted
                        1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar...a flavored one like fig is excellent
                        2 Tbsp good olive oil
                        1 Tbsp capers
                        1 ½ tsp fresh thyme
                        salt and pepper

                        Process in food processor.
                        Serve on toasted bread points with crumbled cheese like montrachet underneath.
                        Also good on sandwiches.
                        Freezes well .

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: coll

                          Wow, that sounds great; I haven't seen it posted before, but that's ok, it's here now, thanks! I love the combo of rich dried fruit, the fig, the pine nuts and the salty savory olives and capers, just fantastic!

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            I hope you like it, it's so quick to whip up yet so rich and tasty. The cheese takes it over the top, and the two together make a great sandwich, especially with some grilled vegetables.

                          2. re: coll

                            that does sound really good. Now after reading all these I hope he delivers more figs. I might have to give them another try. Thanks!

                            1. About once a year, I manage to score a case of fresh figs at our public market - yum! Last year, i butterflied a pork loin and rolled it with figs, toasted pine nuts, feta, honey and some basil, then roasted it on the grill.

                              This year, I just made fig ice cream.

                              1 Reply