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Summer means lots of figs

Eric Hunt, Wikimedia Commons

Figs can be eaten fresh or dried; either way, they are healthy, tasty and versatile.


I have always loved figs.

My own fig trees have to live in cages with bird netting around the sides and over the top. The trunks are painted with a sticky goop called Tanglefoot, to keep ants from getting all the ripe figs. I have lost entire crops to those little pests, so am never without this product.

Several years ago, I had included some fig recipes for readers, and I thought it might be appropriate to run them by you again.

This year I have been very fortunate to not only get a nice fig crop, but to also be gifted with different varieties of figs from friends and family.

Mostly I grow Mission figs, but I also have Tiger and Chicago Hardy. My favorites are the Missions.

I hope you enjoy some figs this summer, whether fresh or dried.

Chewy fig squares

I guess you might call this a candy.

1 cup dried figs (check for stems and remove)

3/4 cup nuts, such as walnuts or pecans

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup toasted coconut flakes or shreds

1. Combine the figs, nuts, salt, and ginger onto a chopping board, chop finely.

2. Place the lemon juice in a bowl, add the chopped fruit combination and stir.

3. Knead mixture into a paste on a board coated with powdered sugar. Roll out thinly.

4. Cut dough into 1-inch squares. Stack together in layers of three and sprinkle the coconut between the layers.

Chocolate fig biscotti

1 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2/3 cup superfine sugar (not powdered)

3 medium eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup dried figs, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place the sifted flour in a large bowl with the baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar. In another bowl, combine the eggs, chopped chocolate and chopped figs. Gradually add the egg, chocolate and fig mixture to flour mixture, stirring to form a stiff dough.

2. Transfer the dough to an even work surface, lightly dusted with flour, and knead briefly with your hands until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape into two long logs.

3. Place logs on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper and press along top of log to slightly flatten. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300.

4. Cut logs into half-inch thick slices, then place on baking trays and bake for another 10 minutes or until hard. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Fig orange muffins

Recipe courtesy of Valley Fig Growers.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup dried figs, chopped

Zest of one orange

1 cup plain yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 400. In large bowl stir together flour, baking soda and salt. In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Place figs and orange zest in food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until mixture forms a paste.

2. Blend fig paste into creamed butter mixture; stir in yogurt. Add fig mixture all at once to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Divide batter among 12 large greased muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until done. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

Fresh fig cake

2 cups raw figs, mashed

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup shortening

4 eggs

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix together sugar, figs, shortening and eggs; beat well. Add flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and pecans; mix well.

2. Pour into a well-greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Bake 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool a couple of minutes, then turn out to cool on rack.

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