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FOOD HOLIDAY: Gourmet Fig Recipes For National Fig Week

Fresh black mission figs with foie gras and a
frisée salad. Photo courtesy BLT Steak Atlanta.


National Fig Week is the first week in November.

One of the simplest desserts, enjoyed since early times, is figs with honey. It couldn’t be easier: just decide how many figs you want to serve to each person (we serve three or four, depending on size), and plate them with a drizzle of honey. Other decisions:

  • One variety of fig or three? Enhance the dessert with three different types of fig to each person—a black Mission fig, a green Adriatic fig, and a brown turkey fig, for example. You can garnish one with chopped hazelnuts, one with pistachios and one with almonds. If you have rectangular or even square plates, it makes a lovely presentation (see photo and recipe).
  • With or without cheese? Figs, honey and nuts—the components of the recipe above—are all excellent complements to cheese plates.

    So why not pass a cheese plate with figs, nuts and honeycomb? It’s one of the world’s great desserts, and you don’t have to cook a thing! Check out this simple recipe for Figs With Honey.

  • Not serving a separate cheese course? You can add an optional scoop of soft cheese to the center of a fresh fig, or a slice of goat cheese log or wedge of Brie next to it. Drizzle honey across the plate before plating the figs and cheese.
  • Dessert or Snack? Ripe, luscious figs can be served like other fresh fruit: at breakfast, lunch or dinner, or at midday tea/break.

    Here’s something you don’t see every day: fig panna cotta. The recipe is from Vic Rallo, host of the television show, Eat!Drink!Italy! With Vic Rallo.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of fig purée
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 one-ounce packet of gelatin dissolved
  • 3 tablespoons of cold water

    A seasonal surprise: fig panna cotta. Photo courtesy Vic Rallo.


    1. DISSOLVE the gelatin in 3 tablespoons of cold water, for about 10 minutes.

    2. PLACE the cream, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, fig purée and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin to the pan, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds, or until the gelatin is well blended with the cream.

    3. POUR the cream mixture into molds, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.


    By the time of the Bible, figs had been cultivated for thousands of years. They may have been the first crop* cultivated—perhaps first in Egypt. From there they spread to Crete and around the 9th century B.C.E., to Greece, where they became a staple.

    The ancient Greeks loved figs so much that they enacted a law forbidding the export of the best quality figs (in the ancient world, at least 29 varieties of figs were cultivated).

    Figs spread throughout the Mediterranean. They arrived in the New World in the early 16th century, with Spaniards explorers. When Spanish missions were established in what is now southern California, the monks cultivated planted fig trees. Today, California is one of the largest producers of figs, along with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

    *Agricultural historians believe the order of cultivation to be figs, wheat and barley, grapes, olives, sugar, tea, rice and sesame. Different historians have different orders; and archeological digs regularly reveal new information.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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