Two fresh fig recipes: fig blueberry crisp and fig cookie bars!

It finally happened… the figs on our monster fig tree started to ripen! I tried two new recipes this year with figs that both turned out fantastic.

Fig and Blueberry Crisp

I basically followed this Food Network recipe with some slight modifications:

  • I used 3 cups blueberries and 3 cups figs and added a bit of lemon zest to the fruit mixture
  • I did not add nutmeg or pecans
  • I did add some ground ginger, probably about 1/2 teaspoon

Fruit mixture and topping:

20160710_161111 20160710_161118

The final, delicious product:20160710_165231

Fig Cookie Bars

While the crisp was super easy to throw together, fig cookies bars (also called fig newtons) required more work, spread across two days for me. For the cookie part, I mostly followed this Fresh Fig Newtons recipe from Sugar Dish Me. For the jam in the middle, I looked around at a number of recipes and ended up using:

  • 2 lbs fresh figs, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After the boil starts, reduce to a simmer and continue to stir / mash from time to time. After 45 min or so, the jam should be thickened.

Note: this jam did turn out quite sweet, so next time I’d reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup probably.

For the cookie part, I changed the Sugar Dish Me recipe by:

  • Reducing the butter – I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce
  • Omitting the orange zest – I didn’t have an orange and wasn’t sold on this anyhow.

The bars were a huge hit. If only they weren’t so much work!

Making jam:


Finished jam:


Finished cookie bar sheet:


Mmmm… delicious!



A most delicious fresh fig tart



Back when we had figs ripening like mad, I came across a recipe from Vegetarian Times for a Lavender and Fig Tart with Goat Cheese Cream, and oh man was it worth the effort. It was a super big hit at a party, the first food to completely disappear.

The only change I made was to use thyme instead of lavender, since we had that in abundance in our garden.


The hardest part of the recipe was dealing with the puff pastry, something I had no experience with.


After you bake it, you have to cut along the edges to create the crust and then press down the middle. It wasn’t too bad, but of course mine wasn’t as pretty as the magazine picture.


We had on over-abundance of figs at the time, so I really loaded up the tart.



The final step was drizzling with a sweetened balsamic and thyme mixture. I can’t wait to make this recipe again next year!FigTart-6

Fig, lemon and honey infused rum

I infused some Cruzan white rum with figs from our tree, lemon slices, and honey from our bee hive about 10 days ago. Tonight, I strained the mixture and made a drink.

The drink was the rum, Topo Chico, St. Germain, and a squeeze of lemon garnished with a lemon slice and some raspberries. Out of all the infusions I’ve made, this one may well be my favorite. Just in time for tiki week, too!image

Ginger fig cake recipe

I recently made quite the birthday meal for my husband, making two of our favorite recipes, and trying out two new ones. I made Food & Wine’s Roasted beets with pistachios, herbs, and orange, Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin and Mushroom Bourguinon and this Ginger fig cake, adapted from Kitchen Konfidence. I made the recipe healthier and also added figs and we loved it, so here it is for others to love!

Birthday foods-5 Continue reading

Delicious fresh fig bread

In an effort to use more figs during this never-ending fig season, I tried a new recipe. Since I love banana bread, I looked for bread recipes that use fresh figs. I found a fig bread recipe on Renee’s Kitchen Adventures. It used almonds so I adapted it to remove the almonds, since I’m not a fan of nuts in baked goods. I also added lemon zest because in the fig crumble cake I like to make, lemon zest makes it awesome.
The fig bread came out delicious, so I’m sharing the recipe of course.
To make 2 loaves, I used:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped brown turkey figs from my tree
  • Zest of 1 small lemon (next time, I will increase this to 1 small lemon per loaf)
  • 2 additional figs cut into 4 vertical slices to place on top of each loaf before baking, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare 2 loaf pans with your favorite method. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour through salt). Beat together eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, sour cream, and sugar. Add the dry ingredients in approximately 3 parts and mix just until combined, don’t over mix. Fold in the figs and lemon zest by hand. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and place four fig slices on each loaf. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Figs and zest:




Ready to bake:




Deliciously full of figs:



Simple fig preserves

So it’s been a while, at least a few weeks, since I last blogged about figs. No worries though, because I made fig preserves for the first time with the last batch of ripe figs. I even canned them and everything. I usually shy away from canning but it seems to have worked out.


After a bit of reading recipes, I decided I could make fig preserves with only a few simple ingredients:

How our garden grows

We made it a priority this year to get raised garden beds installed in our new back yard. And by “we” I mean that I planted a few plants, raked a bit of dirt around, moved two wheel barrows of dirt and mulched said plants. Someone else did the heavy lifting.

My husband constructed us three 4′ x 8′ raised garden beds out of cedar planks. They are about 12″ tall. Cedar is supposed to resist decay better than other types of wood. He then dug out the existing grass, leveled the ground a bit, placed cardboard in the bottom and filled them with dirt. Well, I helped with the cardboard too. Do you see how much work I did here?

We planted:

  • Eight tomato varieties
  • Two basil varieties
  • Two chards (one red, one yellow)
  • Five pepper varieties (jalapeño, bell, serrano, etc)
  • Three mounds of cucumbers
  • A row of okra seeds
  • A row of beans from seed
  • Marigolds from seed, to hopefully help keep the bugs away
Constructed garden beds, lined with cardboard

Constructed garden beds, lined with cardboard

Do you see the two wheel barrows of dirt I moved? And how I raked some of the dirt around?

Do you see the two wheel barrows of dirt I moved? And how I raked some of the dirt around?

The first bed has eight tomato plants in it, all different varieties.

The first bed has eight tomato plants in it, all different varieties.

The second bed has two basil plants, two chard plants, and five pepper plants, all of different varieties.

The second bed has two basil plants, two chard plants, and five pepper plants, all of different varieties.

The third bed has some tiny little cucumber plants and we're hoping to soon see some okra and beans sprouting.

The third bed has some tiny little cucumber plants and we’re hoping to soon see some okra and beans sprouting.

One of the peppers is already blooming!

One of the peppers is already blooming!

Molly guards the raised beds. Hopefully she scares away the birds, although it's more likely that the birds will scare her.

Molly guards the raised beds. Hopefully she scares away the birds, although it’s more likely that the birds will scare her.

Little tiny figs started to grow as soon as the fig tree got leaves.

Little tiny figs started to grow as soon as the fig tree got leaves.

Just a few days ago the figs were much larger!

Just a few days ago the figs were much larger!



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Making fig crumble cake

The end product, amazing fig crumble cake.

The end product, amazing fig crumble cake.

Recently I realized that I had figs from last summer’s huge fig harvest in the freezer. Thank you me, for freezing those figs. I also recently purchased the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and have been enamored with the recipes. A recipe for blueberry cornmeal butter cake caught my eye. I decided to adapt that recipe, using figs and less butter. I really love the simple flavor of the cake, the cornmeal and lemon zest combine with the figs to create pure deliciousness that’s hard to stop eating.

Fig crumble cake, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients – cake:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups thawed, chopped figs (or other fruit)

Ingredients – crumble topping:

  • Reserved liquid from thawed figs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


Butter and flour a cake pan, I used a 9″ round springform. (Edit: I’ve also found that a tube cake pan works well for making sure you get the middle cooked through) Whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Beat together the butter, sugar and applesauce until fluffy, which should take a few minutes. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. Add a third of the flour mixture and all of the sour cream. Beat until blended. Add another third of the flour and beat until blended. Mix the remaining flour with the figs (or other fruit) and fold by hand into the batter until the flour mixture is combined into the batter.

Add the batter to the cake pan. Combine the crumble toppings and spread over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe calls for 35 minutes, but for me it was more like 45 minutes.

Combining the applesauce, butter and sugar.

Combining the applesauce, butter and sugar.

Adding the eggs.

Adding the eggs.

Adding the dry mixture.

Adding the dry mixture.

Adding the figs.

Adding the figs.

Batter in the pan.

Batter in the pan.

Topped with crumble.

Topped with crumble.








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A fig roundup #2: Baked goods

It’s time for another fig roundup! Unfortunately it appears that our trees are done with figs for the season. The fruit flies have thoroughly infested them. Before the flies were everywhere we ate figs in a number of different ways.

One of the first ways we at them was broiled with goat cheese and a variety of different toppings. Crushed pistachios, honey, fig balsamic, prosciutto… it’s all good.  Fresh figs are also tasty added to salad and eaten with a balsamic style dressing.

I also made fig compote, fig balsamic reduction, and fig infused vokda in addition to freezing a batch of figs. I haven’t used the frozen figs yet.

Figs make a great addition to baked goods.

Fig muffins

To make the muffins, I started with a basic breakfast muffin recipe and changed it quite a bit.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups chopped figs


Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix in chopped figs. Combine egg, milk, oil, brown sugar and honey and beat well. Add to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pan, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Next time I might use more brown sugar or all brown sugar and no honey to make them just a tad bit sweeter. Regardless, the muffins were very good. Because we weren’t able to eat them all right away, I froze a few and have been eating them for breakfast on the weekends.

Dry muffin ingredients

Wet muffin ingredients

Fig chunks mixed with dry ingredients

Batter ready to go

Prior to baking

After baking

Delicious fig chunks on the inside


Fig cake

Never content to use a recipe just as it’s called for, I modified this fig cake recipe to my liking.


  • 2 cups mashed figs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Additional fig slices for topping


Mix together sugar and wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, mixing well. Oil and flour a cake pan (I used two 9″ round pans). Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. With about 15 minutes left, remove cakes and add fig slices to top. The cake will be golden brown on the top when finished. Check with toothpicks to see if the center is finished.

Mashed figs

Cake batter

In the pan

Delicious fig cake, after adding the fig slices, before the baking is finished. Somehow didn’t end up with a picture of the finished product.




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A fig roundup

Well, our giant fig tree has hit a second round of ripening figs so in addition to giving them away, I’ve been making a wide variety of yummy fig recipes. Here’s a roundup of the non-baked goods I’ve recently created.

Fig Infused Vodka

For this, I peeled and chopped figs, added them to a mason jar along with a split vanilla bean, and covered them with Tito’s Vodka. I let the mixture marinate in the fridge for two weeks before straining out the figs. We tried one drink recipe with the vodka but it wasn’t super good. Anyone have good fig drink recipes? Please let me know in the comments!

Peeled and chopped fig

Figs and a vanilla bean infusing in Tito’s Vodka

Straining the figs after two weeks

The final product – fig vodka!

Fig Balsamic Reduction

A friend at work taught me this trick. Take ripe (or almost overripe) figs, chop them up and soak them in balsamic vinegar overnight. The next day, simmer the mixture until it has reduced somewhat. The balsamic should coat a spoon dipped into the mixture. Strain the figs and enjoy in any food that you might use balsamic. So far, I’ve found it’s tasty to drizzle fig balsamic on broiled figs with cheese or onto a fig, cheese, and onion sandwich. Yum!

Figs soaking in balsamic

After reducing the figs and balsamic

The final product! I’ve already made a second batch to refill my bottle.

Fig Compote

I got the idea for fig compote from this roundup of 10 quick fig recipes.  Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (next time, I would only use 1/4 cup sugar)
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Vanilla extract (my homemade kind)
  • Smattering of whole cloves
  • Sprinkle of ground ginger
  • Lots of figs. If the skin was green, I cut it off. If red, I left it on because it was softer. As the mixture cooked, I had to add more figs to get the compote to thicken to a reasonable consistency.

I combined all of these ingredients and simmered for a long time. After I felt it was finished, I refrigerated half of the mixture and froze the other half. It would be good as a pancake topping or with bread / bagel and cream cheese. It is very sweet, so next time I will reduce the sugar.

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Cooking figs

Cooked and ready to eat fig compote!

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