sweet and savory – figs two ways September 14, 2011

A lot of times around here, the recipes that are posted relate to a story. They come out of a memory. Some food trigger that takes me back somewhere – good or bad. These two recipes aren’t like that at all. I never had fresh figs growing up. The only knowledge I had of them were from Fig Newtons. They were my dad’s favorite cookie and, as a child, I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that a cookie wasn’t crunchy and sweet. I couldn’t stand the things so I didn’t think much about the fruit they came from. Only until I reached my twenties and started eating in restaurants that paired them with a bit of cheese or a sliver of prosciutto didn’t I really come to appreciate them.

After snagging a few pounds of figs left over from a photoshoot – I hate for stuff to go to waste or simply get thrown away – I started thinking of ways to use them at home. Since I don’t eat pork anymore, the cheese stuffed and prosciutto wrapped versions are off the table. I love figs in savory applications but wanted to go beyond putting them in a salad. I pulled out some flatbread crusts I had in the freezer, slathered a bit of fig or onion jam on them once they were defrosted, added some figs and Stilton and baked. This is heaven on bread. I’m including a recipe here but use it as a guideline. I’ve since made versions on skinny pieces of lavash, turned this into tartines on fruit-laced bread, and substituted cheeses with Gorgonzola and goat cheese. They’re all fabulous. Make a few of these, break them up into pieces and serve them as a starter nosh when entertaining (or sit down and eat a whole section of it like I did – no one will judge)

Fresh Fig and Stilton Flatbreads – makes 2

  • 1 piece regular or whole wheat lavash – cut widthwise so it makes two rectangular pieces about 4″x7″ in size. You can make your own lavash but there are lots of good quality storebought options out there. You can also substitute lavash with premade flatbreads, pizza crust or puff pastry (baked per the instructions).
  • 4 tbsp. onion jam or fig preserves
  • 10-12 fresh Mission or Brown Turkey figs – thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces good quality Stilton cheese, crumbled – you can use goat cheese, blue cheese or Gorgonzola here
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from tough stems

– Preheat oven to 350. Place the two pieces of lavash on a baking sheet and bake until it begins to barely crisp – 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch. Spread 2 tbsp. of your preferred jam on each piece of lavash. Even distribute the sliced figs over the lavash bread. Top each with 2 ounces of crumbled cheese and evenly sprinkle on the thyme leaves. Bake until crispy and the cheese has melted – this took 5 to 6 minutes in my oven. Cut into rough pieces and serve while still warm.

We’ve also been on an ice cream making bender here at the house. While sometimes it’s been just straight up vanilla, we’ve been experimenting a bit using that as a base flavor. I was standing in the kitchen over the ice cream maker and – in some random autopilot type way – walked to the pantry and grabbed the balsamic vinegar. I drizzled a bit into my ice cream base…then chopped up the last of the figs and threw them in right before the churning was done. What emerged was the best ice cream I’ve ever made. This is a flavor profile that takes a second or two to get used to. You can taste the balsamic. The tang of the vinegar hits you and is then tempered by the sweetness of the vanilla. In every other bite or so, you run into a frozen fig, which is a little burst of icy sweetness. It’s been consumed several times right out of the container (and passed around in a circle amongst friends) but this would be killer with some chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey on top.

Fig Balsamic Ice Cream – makes 1 quart – based off Alton Brown’s Serious Vanilla Ice Cream recipe

  • 2 cups chopped fresh Brown Turkey or Mission figs
  • 1/3 cup good quality Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peach preserves (not jelly)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

– Combine the last 5 ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Bring mixture to just barely a simmer – as soon as you see a bubble reach the top, remove the pan from heat – do not let this boil. Allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture at least 4 hours to allow flavors to mingle.

– Place cooled ice cream mixture in the frozen container of your ice cream maker. Begin churning process according to the directions that come with your machine. 10 minutes into the churn, drizzle the balsamic vinegar through the top of the machine – don’t turn the churning process off to do this.  In the last 5 minutes of churning time, add the chopped figs. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 – 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving. This will keep for several days in the freezer…but it will not last that long.


Kathryn Sep 14, 2011 10:09 am

I love both these recipes – figs are just gorgeous!

Winnie Sep 14, 2011 11:09 am

Oh my. Both recipes looks amazing. Figs are so freaking photogenic/sexy, too…

imsocookin Sep 14, 2011 11:09 am

Absolutely beautiful!

Cookie and Kate Sep 14, 2011 12:09 pm

I tried my first fig a couple of weekends ago in Kansas City and have been so disappointed that I haven’t been able to find any around here. They are such stunning fruits. Both recipes look incredible. I’m so intrigued by your balsamic and fig ice cream!

brandi Sep 14, 2011 01:09 pm

i had never had fresh figs until this summer, thanks to two inherited fig bushes in our yard that we got with our new house.

both of these sound incredible!

Alexandra Sep 14, 2011 01:09 pm

Lavash is my down fall – and then throw cheese and figs in there.. perfection!

Amanda@EasyPeasyOrganic Sep 14, 2011 04:09 pm

I’ve been tucking into a significant number of figs on my visit here in AZ … I’ve made fig/onion/blue cheese pizzas (try smoked blue cheese if you can find it) and they’ve decorated the tops of cupcakes. But mostly I’ve just been popping one or two into my smoothie, my cereal and/or my mouth :)

I’m intrigued by your fig and balsamic ice cream! Wonder if it would work as a fig + balsamic sauce for vanilla ice cream?

Isabelle Sep 14, 2011 04:09 pm

This looks amazing. I’ve recently developed a new love for figs… must try this. :) Thanks for sharing!

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Sep 14, 2011 09:09 pm

Two really wonderful ideas! I absolutely love Stilton. So luxurious. And with figs…wow!

marla Sep 14, 2011 11:09 pm

Oh I am so impressed with your fig fascination. The balsamic in the ice cream is a fun twist. Gotta get my hands on some figs pronto!

Nancy@acommunaltable Sep 15, 2011 01:09 am

My Dad’s favorite cookie was also a Fig Newton – and I actually liked them growing up (I was a little strange, I admit). Still love figs today and when I first tasted figs and blue cheese… I think I heard angels singing!

Can’t wait to try the ice cream – figs and balsamic? Oh yeah…..

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Sep 15, 2011 03:09 am

I love the shot of the scoop of ice cream. The balsamic with the figs sounds pretty amazing.

myfudo Sep 15, 2011 04:09 am

Both the recipes are great. I love figs and these are killer recipes :)

Nicole Sep 15, 2011 02:09 pm

I’m not sure which one I want to try first – I should still have access to lots of fresh figs when I get back down to Fresno. I was eating them fresh almost daily before heading up to Oregon and it’s time I do something a little more creative :-)

Danielle Sep 15, 2011 02:09 pm

Fig Balsamic Ice-Cream!!!! Stroke of genius!

It was lovely to meet you this past weekend in Oregon, can’t wait to read your take on it.

rachelsdigestif Sep 16, 2011 12:09 am

I’m absolutely obsessed with figs and therefore extremely excited about both of these recipes. Thanks for sharing!

kamran siddiqi Sep 16, 2011 11:09 am

That flatbread AND that ice cream. Swoon! I need to get my hands on some more figs this weekend. Both of these things are calling my name.

Richa@HobbyandMore Sep 16, 2011 02:09 pm

love both the fig creations.. the flatbread looks amazing.!

MikeVFMK Sep 17, 2011 12:09 pm

Sublime. Both. I’ve had flatbread on the brain for a week now and this is definitely pushing me towards making some. As for the ice cream? Heaven. Simply put.

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen Sep 17, 2011 10:09 pm

I only recently came across fresh figs, now I will be searching for a few more to try these recipes!

Deliciously Organic Sep 19, 2011 04:09 pm

Wow, I love both of these ideas. I’m currently on a grain free diet and saw some figs in the store and was missing my usual fig tart I make this time each year. Your recipes will more than make up for the tart I can’t have right now. Thank you!!

Saturday Surfing — Au Coeur Sep 24, 2011 11:09 am

[…] Sweet and Savory – Figs Two Ways, Running With Tweezers —  This is channeling Chris.  Wonder if I can find figs before his birthday? […]

michael Sep 27, 2011 10:09 am

figs + savory + flatbread == win

michael Sep 27, 2011 10:09 am

but ice cream?! mental.

Tori Oct 4, 2011 05:10 pm

These recipes looks amazing! I also have never had experience with figs but after these images I think I’m ready to give it a whirl!

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Emil Jul 23, 2012 06:07 am

This looks amazing, tasty, delicious, wonderful, beautiful – I can’t find a better word. Gigs with Stilton, this is just…. this is heaven!

[…] 1: Figs from Running with Tweezers, Invitation via Bella Figura, Gold Bracelet via […]

Bee Oct 4, 2012 11:10 pm

Flatbread + figs + blue cheese is such a great idea. Not to mention the onion jam. Thank you for the inspiration! This was delicious :-)

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Saturday Surfing - Au Coeur Feb 18, 2017 10:02 pm

[…] Sweet and Savory – Figs Two Ways, Running With Tweezers —  This is channeling Chris.  Wonder if I can find figs before his birthday? […]