Saturday, January 14, 2017


I have guests coming for Sunday lunch. What to fix for dessert? (Dessert is always a dilemma.) Poking around in the cupboard, I came across the bag of dried figs I bought for the photo of dried fruits and nuts a few weeks ago. Fig tart, perhaps? Too fussy for my tastes. I’ll put it all in baking dish and call it “pudding.”

Dried figs from Málaga are dusted with rice flour before packaging.

Figs grow throughout southern and central Spain. In former times the fruit was far more important than it is today, a source of sweetness. In late summer, ripe figs were picked and spread to dry in the sun. When fully dried, they were packed into a serete, a woven straw basket, and cinched tightly closed. The baskets were placed in a fig press, which consisted of a wooden frame threaded with a thick wooden screw hewn from hard holm oak, and winched down. Once pressed, the figs were impervious to insect infestation and would keep for months.

Now I buy packaged figs, small Málaga figs that have been lightly coated in rice flour to keep them from absorbing moisture. (They can be eaten without washing.) There are also other varieties imported from Turkey. Any variety of dried fig can be used in the recipe. Cut small figs in half; quarter large ones. Dried figs are so sweet that, in my opinion, the dessert is sweet enough with no added sugar.

Figs are enhanced with various spice combos--anisette and cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, or, as I have used, vanilla and lemon.

Figs bake in a custardy-batter topped with nuts.

Dried figs are plumped in milk before mixing into the batter.

Dust the pudding lightly with confectioners' sugar immediately before serving.

Fig Pudding
Pudín de Higos

I found that the rice coating on the figs thickened the batter somewhat, so I used the larger quantity of milk. 

Serves 6-8.

1 pound dried figs
½ vanilla pod
Strip of lemon zest
1 ½ -2 cups milk
4 eggs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Slivered almonds or coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Dessert sauce (recipe follows)

Use kitchen scissors to snip off stems.
Cut away stems from the figs and cut them in half or quarters. Place in a heatproof bowl. 

Heat the milk with the vanilla pod and lemon zest. Pour the hot milk over the figs and allow them to soak until milk has cooled. Discard the lemon zest. 

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Oil a baking dish (11- 12-inch rectangle or oval).

Remove the vanilla pod. Split it open lengthwise and scrape out the pulp. Add the pulp to a mixing bowl or blender. Add the eggs and oil and beat or blend until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat again to combine. 

Pour the batter over the figs and mix well. Spread the figs and batter in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with slivered almonds or chopped nuts.

Bake 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350ºF and bake 25 minutes more. Pudding is done when a thin skewer comes out clean.

Serve hot or cold, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Serve sweet dessert sauce separately.

Sweet Sherry Dessert Sauce
Salsa Dulce con PX Sherry

Serve pudding with a sweet Sherry sauce.
½ cup light cream
¼ cup PX (sweet) Sherry

Combine the cream and Sherry in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

And, more fig recipes:


  1. I'll have to try this. I have lots of dried fugs.

  2. Looks good! I wonder if you could merge this idea with something like Torte de Santiago (almond flour torte) to get a more cake-like texture.

    1. David: Or, use less flour and make it more custardy.

  3. Bought 200g pack of figs from Lidl on way home and the pud turned out so well I've made it twice.

    1. VRJ: Well done! It's always nice to have a quick and easy dessert recipe. I hope you tried that yummy Sherry-cream sweet sauce too.

    2. will try the Sherry sauce next time,tomorrow's lunch is arroz con pollo which is one of yours also.I've made it so many times I don't need to refer to the recipe.Keep 'em coming.

    3. VRJ: Arroz con pollo definitely one of my favorites!