Maple Roasted Figs

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I put figs in the same camp as black licorice: People love them—or hate them. There never seems to be a middle ground.

If you’re in the first group, then man-oh-man, are you in for a treat.


Personally, I love figs. (And black licorice, if you’re keeping score.) They’re sweet; they’re earthy. Not to mention, they’re also nutritional powerhouses. Fresh figs are a great source of vitamins B6 and K, manganese, potassium, and fiber.

Ya, ya, I know it’s questionable to call them healthy when they’re drenched in maple syrup…But still.

I think the only thing that would make these better is if they were sprinkled with crispy bits of bacon. (Hmm, now there’s an idea.)

I got on my most recent fig kick when I was testing recipes last month for my cookbook, Slushed. The Whiskey & Fig Gelato I came up with is now a house favorite. This would make an amazing topping.

These little babies are really simple to make. Just find the ripest figs you can. (I used black mission, but you could do this with Turkish, too.) Slice them in half. Drench them with maple syrup. Sprinkle with spices and roast for about 15 minutes.

As the figs heat up, they start to let out their luscious juice. It mingles with the maple syrup and creates a heavenly sauce that’s fragrant with thyme and black pepper.

That’s it.

How can you tell when figs are ripe?

Good question. A ripe fig will feel be soft to the touch—but not too soft. It should feel like a ready-to-eat peach or avocado. You want it to have a little give to the skin and flesh, but not feel mushy.

Figs are one of those fruits that need to be picked when ripe (they won’t continue to ripen after picked, like an avocado). For this reason, be sure you’re happy with the ones you bring home from the market, ’cause they ain’t gonna get any better on your counter.

What do you do with roasted figs?

The short and not-very-helpful answer is: What can’t you do with them?

The longer but still not very precise answer is: Roasted figs work well in both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a handful of ideas.

You get where I’m going.

This recipe uses 1 lb. of figs and serves about 8 as an app. Scale it up or down to fit your needs.

Alrighty, To the ovens!

Maple Roasted Figs

1 lb. black mission figs (about 28)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon thyme
Freshly cracked black pepper

Serves about 8 as an appetizer

Prep the figs

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Grab a fig.

Nip off his stem with a sharp little knife.

Slice him in half and put him on your prepared pan.

Repeat until you’ve assembled a happy little army of sliced figs.

Season the figs

Douse the figs with maple syrup.

Toss gently with your hands to coat. (I do all of this in one pan to save on dishes. You could certainly mix them up in a bowl, if you’d prefer.)

Sprinkle with thyme and freshly cracked black pepper. I only had dried thyme on hand, but by all means, use the fresh herb if you have it.

Roast the figs

Pop the pan into your preheated 375-degree oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the juice starts to run and they’re deliciously fragrant. You don’t want to cook them too long or they’ll turn to mush.

Yank the pan out of the oven.

Cool to room temperature on the pan. (The sauce will get thicker as it cools.)

Serve however you like (see above for suggestions). Enjoy!

 

Storing roasted figs

If you need to keep them, ideally store them covered, in a single layer on a plate. If you don’t have that much room to spare in the fridge, stack them up neatly in a container and scrape all that lovely syrup over them.

One warning about storing them like this. If you’re going for a big aesthetic bang with them, they may get a little squashed like this (but they’ll still be just as delicious).

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

14 COMMENTS

  1. My only fig experience up until now has been fig newtons. Definitely not the same in any way — I ate one on my way home from the grocery store expecting a sweet fruit and it’s more like a zucchini in taste (but not exactly). I also had a 2nd fail as I didn’t have maple syrup and only ground thyme, so I substituted agave nectar…the results weren’t awful but I stand by my squash type flavor. I also think mine were probably softer than recommended, but not knowing what to expect (and they were prepackaged in a berry type plastic cube) they were pretty good.

    Keep the recipes coming 😀

  2. A+ … a very good way to prepare my favorite fruit! I cant wait to try them in pancakes or on ice cream! My favorite is to grill and slice them to eat on spinach salad with bacon and cheese.

  3. Oh my gosh! I LOVE figs! Every time I see them I a menu I have to have them. I belong to a local farm club and was just going to place my order for the week…I see they have figs. You just convinced me to order them. I’m definitely going to make some this week! Thank you. I adore your blog!
    -Kristin
    coupletastic.com

  4. We love figs, have several huge fig trees and always more figs than we know what to do with. Mostly just eat them. I freeze lots to cook with balsamic vinegar on lamb, pork or chicken. Always make at least one batch of fig ice cream. My grandmother did that when I was a kid. Roasted sounds great, so does grilled. I’ll have to try both. Thanks.

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