Caramelized figs...with ice cream

Figs are one of those things I've only started to eat in the last couple of years.  In the past, my only familiarity with it was in the form of dried figs, which my mother used to make one of her signature soups.  Growing up, no matter the temperature, my mother would make a big pot of soup weekly.  These Chinese soups started with either a whole chicken or chunks of pork (no boxes of chicken stock) and involved hours of simmering on the stove; one of my favorites was one with dried figs.
But fresh figs?  I was a picky eater (and still admittedly selective to this day) so they were not something I'd voluntarily eat, to be frank.  Now, I realize figs are not only nutritious but add a lovely touch of sweetness to anything from salads to savory meat dishes. 

When I saw a feature on figs from one of the recent issues of Cooking Light, it really got me thinking about them and I started keeping a lookout for figs at the market.  I finally spotted some the other day at Whole Foods so I bought a few.  I went with mostly black mission figs as well as a couple of brown turkey figs (which I'd never heard of until the article).  I looked for soft, ripe figs since I learned that they will not ripen any further after picking.  In my case, as I somewhat expected, the mission figs were sweeter than the brown turkey ones.
I was wondering what to do with the figs.  In the end, we just ate some plain, and then I decided to broil a few for dessert (to have something other than chocolate once in a while).  I sliced the figs in half, topped them with a little bit of brown sugar and broiled them for about 5 minutes or so.  I made a dessert for two by placing the softened, caramelized figs on top of some vanilla ice cream.  For a healthier route, and more of a breakfast spin, I think the caramelized figs would make a great sweet topping for yogurt or a bowl of oatmeal.
I also sprinkled on some toasted walnuts.  The earthy nuts are a nice contrast to the sweetness of the figs, and add some texture. 
Of course, figs are great, as I've learned, in savory dishes as well.  It's a great way to incorporate a little natural sweetness to your dish.  In fact, I'm now daydreaming about a nice green salad with salty prosciutto and a few wedges of figs, drizzled with balsamic vinegar...


Do you enjoy figs or cook with them?  In the past, I'd have a bite or two of figs in a dish at a restaurant but wouldn't think to buy some to eat or cook with at home.  I think, overall, I enjoy them in moderation.  Fresh figs aren't something I'd gobble up in mass the way I can a bowl of berries but somehow, I think they're a nice addition and surprise to a meal, or dessert.

Recipe:

Caramelized Figs

- Adapted from August 2015 issue of Cooking Light magazine - 

4-5 fresh ripe figs* 
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Serving suggestions: vanilla ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, chopped walnuts or pistachios

* I used Black Mission as well as Brown Turkey figs.  I found the Black Mission figs to be sweeter.  Look for soft figs, not hard or mushy, because they will not ripen further after picking.  Store fresh figs in the refrigerator; place them in a single layer on a paper-towel lined plate, covered loosely with plastic wrap.  They should be used within 2-3 days.

Clean figs by washing over cold running water.  Dry, and slice figs in half lengthwise. Place fig halves, cut side up, on top of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle each with a bit of brown sugar.  Broil about 6 inches from the heat source for about 5 minutes, or until sugar is melted and figs are softened.


Remove from the oven, let cool a couple of minutes.  Serve on top of ice cream and sprinkle with nuts for dessert.  Alternately, use as a sweet topping for yogurt or oatmeal.



40 comments:

  1. Thanks for reminding me to pick up some figs the next time I'm at whole foods! I see some fig-topped ice cream in my future. Such a great idea!

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    1. The seasons are so short and hard to catch...when I asked about it a couple of weeks ago, I was told they couldn't get stock but I think the organic figs might still be on sale right now at WF. : )

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  2. I just started liking figs recently too and I love that you caramelized them. Such a simple and delicious treat! They look amazing in the bowl of ice cream!

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    1. I'm glad to find I like them, too. A little still goes a pretty long way for me but it's a nice fruit to add to the mix of things. : )

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  3. Mmmmmm.... caramelized figs...! YUM. This sounds delicious and your photos are making me crave a big bowl of this ice cream right now. This is a recipe I'll definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing! xo

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    1. Really easy and another great excuse to scoop some more ice cream! Thank you, Jenn.

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  4. I also only really started eating fresh figs within the last few years ... and they have definitely grown on me a lot! Now this sounds fantastic! I've only eaten them plain like in salads, etc. but caramelized and with ice cream sounds like a way better idea!!

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    1. You could totally use it to top some yogurt or for oatmeal. But you know me...and ice cream and dessert. I figured this is supposed to be a baking blog after all so I went with the ice cream.

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  5. Can't wait for the fig season arrive here. This is a fantastic dessert, Monica. I look forward to your fig salad.

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    1. I was telling my husband it'd be great just to slice a few and toss into our huge salad, which we make when we grill out. Lots of greens and some meat. :)

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  6. You know I love this recipe! Caramelizing figs is a wonderful idea and serving with yogurt or ice cream is brilliant! We are always on the same (recipe) page - we should start comparing notes :)

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    1. Like I said Tricia, I must be doing something right and be on a good path if I'm thinking like you when it comes to food. Your fig and goat cheese tart looked so wonderful!!

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  7. Hi Monica, carmelizing the figs was such a great idea. I am learning different ways to prepare them myself besides eating them plain, which is always good.

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    1. For me, it feels great to expand my horizons a little. : ) I love my old-time favorites but I believe there's room for new things. Never know when you'll discover a new favorite. :)

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  8. Yes please!! I love figs. I would love so love a fig tree in my garden (they tend to grow well in pots). Caramelising the figs is so delicious... The sweet juices and crunch of the seeds, just divine. Good job Monica!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Jo! You must be such a terrific mom. You just made me sit up a little straighter and smile after reading that! : ) xo

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  9. Yum! Figs in desserts can be really delicious, and like you said a great natural sweetener. We had fig & candied walnut ice cream on Pass the Cocoa earlier this year, and a couple years back we made cinnamon rolls filled with figs & orange. Delicious! (:

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    1. Oh my goodness - love that! The candied walnut fig ice cream sounds crazy good. I can totally picture it now that I had this with the toasted walnuts on top. I thought it went so well together.

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  10. Hehe we always end up eating them fresh and I have to set some aside for cooking. Otherwise they'd be gone in a flash!

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    1. I've been like that with strawberries. : )

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  11. I hated eating figs too as a kid! I never liked its texture! But this year I decided to give it a try and I've been cursing myself for never even trying to eat this amazing fruit since the past 21 years of my life! I love it so much now and I can literally taste the caramel-ly goodness of this sweet fruit on vanilla ice cream! And walnuts!!!! Yum, love the pairing of figs and walnuts! What a great way to add crunch to the whole dessert! Love it!

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    1. It's truly fascinating how our tastebuds change or how we learn more about ourselves once we're willing to try. : ) Glad you like it. Thanks so much.

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  12. Caramelized figs with ice cream sounds like an incredible dessert idea! Can't wait to try this! Lovely share, Monica! :)

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    1. Thank you. It was an easy way to try "cooking" with the figs. Of course, it had to involve ice cream, right? ;)

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  13. I haven't tried any figs before, not even in soup. I think I am missing out! Your caramelized figs look perfectly ripe and sweet. Most importantly, the dessert is easy to put together. I will look for some figs when I go to the market next time.

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    1. My mother always made that soup growing up and I never thought much about it...then I started having tastes of fresh figs eating out and thought I'd give it a try at home. I almost feel like I like their natural sweetness countered in a savory way but then again, sweetening them up a little further, throwing ice cream and nuts in the mix isn't too bad either. ; )

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  14. My father in law is going to go absolutely insane for these! I'm going to make them for his birthday! He is obsessed with figs. Love this recipe.

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    1. That's so nice. This is definitely a simple treat for a fig lover! : )

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  15. These caramelized figs look amazing! I'm going to have to look for some figs next time I go to Whole Foods.

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    1. Thanks, Christin. In past years, I don't think I ever noticed the figs and they come and go very quickly. You should see them right now though...good luck!

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  16. I've had dried figs and realyl like them, but I bet I would love these caramelized figs with ice cream and toasted walnuts! It would make for the most perfect afternoon snack right now ;)

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    1. A chocolate shop in Seattle stuffs figs with chocolate...I saw it on TV once and can't get that out of my mind! haha. You would understand. : )

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  17. Figs are one of my favourite fruits and I love how simple this is.

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    1. So simple...and really not very much brown sugar and using the heat as an ingredient. : )

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  18. yum! What a great dessert! Caramelized figs sound great!

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    1. It has a fancy sound to it but you just pop it in the oven and watch them soften and warm up...then top on some icy ice cream and dessert is served. : )

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    2. Easy and delicious! Even better!

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  19. I rarely see fresh figs around here, but figs in any format are terrific. One of the best desserts I've ever had was poached figs in Italy. Simple, elegant, and absolutely perfect. Caramelized figs sound amazing!

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