Saturday, September 10, 2016


Año de higos, año de amigos. "A good year for figs is a good year for friends," is a Spanish folk saying. If there’s any truth to this wisdom, I should be surrounded by friends, for I’m posting a second round of fig recipes and may go for a third (dry ones, around Christmas time). 

Late summer's ripe figs.

The first figs are brevas that mature in early June. The fig tree then produces a second crop at the end of summer. That’s what I’m picking now. I love figs, for breakfast or dessert, chilled and quartered, served with a dollop of Greek yogurt. I like them pureed and folded into a mousse or panna cotta (see this recipe, which can be adapted to figs). I'm looking through my recipe files to find some new ways to prepare them. Here are two.

Figgy fritters. Fresh figs are dipped in a fritter batter and deep fried until golden.

Serve the fig fritters alongside ice cream.

Fritters are juicy on the inside, crisp on the outside.

Coca is a flatbread, somewhat like pizza. Here, with sliced figs, goat cheese and pine nuts.

Figgy Fritters
Buñuelos de Higos Frescos

Use sweet, ripe figs that are still firm, not squishy. Whole small ones are best. If large, cut them in half or quarters.

The fritter batter can be used for dried figs as well. Plump them in muscatel wine or brandy before dunking in the batter. The batter also serves for making any fruit fritter—banana, apricot, apple.

The fritters don’t have to be served hot, but they are best enjoyed within a few hours of frying.

If you would like a sauce with the fig fritters, try melting red currant jam with a little brandy or topping with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Ice cream is a nice accompaniment to the fritters.

1 pound firm, ripe figs (about 20 small figs)
1 egg, separated
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon sugar
¼ cup milk
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Olive oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar

Wash the figs and pat them dry. Cut away any hard stems.

Place the egg yolk in blender with the oil, sugar, milk, salt and lemon zest. Blend until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and blend until smooth. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg white until stiff. Beat in the lemon juice.

Drop figs into batter.

Place the batter in a mixing bowl. Beat in a spoonful of the beaten egg white, then fold the remaining white into the batter.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet until shimmering, but not smoking (360ºF/ 180ºC).

Drop the figs into the bowl of batter and carefully fold them in so they are coated. Use a tablespoon to lift figs and place them in hot oil. When golden-brown, carefully turn the figs to brown the reverse sides. Use a heat-proof slotted spoon to lift them out of the oil. Drain the fig fritters on paper toweling.

Serve sprinkled with powdered confectioners’ sugar. 

Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread
Coca con Higos Frescos y Queso de Cabra

Coca is a flatbread with toppings, sort of a cross between pizza and focaccia. The coca (plural is coques in Catalan or cocas in Spanish) is made from bread dough. Use any favorite pizza dough (or see the recipe here ). I like a thin, crisp crust, so I rolled the dough out as thinly as possible.

I used a log of soft French-type goat cheese.

Pizza dough to make a 10-12-inch crust
Olive oil
Sliced soft goat cheese
Sliced figs
Pine nuts
Sprigs of rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Roll or pat the dough to a 10-12-inch circle. Place the dough on a baking sheet or stone. Brush it with oil. Place slices of cheese and figs on top. Scatter pine nuts over and add small sprigs of rosemary. Grind pepper over all.

Bake until the edges of the pizza are browned, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

More recipes for fresh figs:

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