My favorite four letter “f” word in late August is “Figs”. Finally we have some figs to play with. I have been watching the trees in the neighborhood, snooping around the farmer’s markets, just waiting, thinking on simple recipes using tree ripened figs.
Sitting with a group of food friends the other day we started talking about foods we really were not aware of when we were younger, foods that we now know and love. For most of us Southerners it seems fresh figs just didn’t make it onto our radars until adulthood. I am not sure why. Fig trees thrive around here so it seems that figs would have been a summer staple just like peaches & late summer pears. I think I will do a bit of research to figure out why I never ate fresh figs as a child. As an adult I relish the arrival of this little, lush four-letter word.
“Fresh Figs-Pine Nuts Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake”
The corn meal gives it a bit of a crunch as do the pine nuts. The caramelized fig topping drizzled with maple syrup is luscious.
Ingredients: 5 to 6 fresh figs, 2 to 3 cups self-rising white or yellow cornmeal (I used gluten-free); 1 tsp ground cardamom; 1 stick good butter (Kerry gold of course!); 1 cup brown sugar; (divided into two 1/2 cups; 1/4 cups toasted pine nuts; 2 eggs; milk; real maple syrup
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet, preferably, over medium high heat. Add in 1/2 cup brown sugar stirring until melted.
2. Wash & dry figs. Cut each one in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in skillet in a circular pattern. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over figs. Turn heat to low allowing the figs to caramelize somewhat for about 5-8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients..cornmeal, second 1/2 cup brown sugar & cardamom. Add eggs & enough milk to make a batter.
4. Pour/scrape batter into the hot skillet with the figs on top of the stove. Transfer skillet to the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until cake is golden brown and set in the middle. Remove skillet from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.
5. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and “flip” plate & skillet upside-down. Scrape any caramel left in the pan over the top of the cake. While cake is still hot drizzle generously with real maple syrup. Cool cake for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve slices with additional maple syrup on side if desired.
Bonus Recipe: “Figgy Pancakes”
Ingredients: Same as for the cake recipe with a few extra figs quartered.
It was morning when I was baking the cake and had a bit of batter left over after filling the skillet. While the cake was baking I whipped up some pancakes for breakfast!
Directions: 1. Heat some butter in a small non-stick pan or griddle over high heat. Add a few quartered figs.
2. Pour in batter. When batter is set on bottom and bubbly on top flip pancake and finish cooking til golden brown.
3. Serve immediately with real maple syrup. This was one good pancake recipe!
EXTRA, EXTRA BONUS RECIPE…SEE BELOW…THE EASIEST MOST DELICIOUS WAY TO EAT FRESH FIGS…….DON’T MISS THIS ONE!
“Sea Salt & Raw Sugar Dipped Figs”
Take some wonderful fresh figs. Cut them into quarters. Sprinkle some great sea salt & raw sugar on a saucer. Dip cut edges of figs in salt-sugar mixture and eat.
Some “f” word music I like. A little bit different, fun and peppy to help you get figgy.
Album, “The Figs”, The Figs, 2007 Valcour Records
Album, “What Keeps Me Up At Night”, The Figs 2008
Songs, “Jumbo” & “The Long Goodbye”, Marseille Figs, 2009 Figs of London
Eat good stuff.