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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State


Adriatic and Black Mission Figs





More Seasonal Chef
fig recipes

Four Fig Desserts

Fig Tartlets
Terrific Fig Trail Bars
Fig Sugar Cookies
Fig Cake

The first two recipes were provided by the California Fig Advisory Board, which has a number of other recipes on its Web site. Most of the fig board’s recipes call for dried figs, which can shipped without injury, stored for months and enjoyed year round.

Fresh figs are a more ephemeral, exceedingly fragile, summer-time treat. Fans of this ancient fruit have to get their fill during the short window of opportunity when fresh figs are raining down from backyard trees and filling tables at farmers markets. For that time of the year, here are four recipes for baked goods that make use of fresh figs.

Fig Tartlets
(Makes 24)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon white sugar or 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (1 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons ice water

12 figs, cut in half or lengthwise into long narrow strips
2/3 cup (1/3-pint) sour cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts
Powdered sugar
½ cup walnuts

1. Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly mix in a large bowl flour, sugar and salt.

2. Working quickly to prevent softening cut butter into 1/4 -inch pieces. Add to dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two knives, chop the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add vegetable shortening and with quick swipes of the pastry blender, cut the shortening into large chunks and distribute throughout the bowl. Continue to chop with the pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture and work with rubber spatula until the mixture forms a ball, adding more water if needed. Flatten dough and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or for several hours.

3. Roll out the piecrust and cut into 24 pieces. With fingers press the pieces of crust into the bottom and sides of ungreased tea-size muffin pans. Divide figs equally between lined pans. In a bowl, mix sour cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla and nuts. Spoon mixture over figs, filling cups to the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 375° F for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and brown. Cool in pan. Run a sharp knife around each tart to loosen and unmold. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Terrific Fig Trail Bars
(Makes 24 bars)

1½ cups whole wheat flour
¾ cups all purpose flour or oat flour
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs or 6 tbsp egg substitute
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
1 tbsp finely grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup orange juice
1 cup California dried figs, stems removed, chopped
¾ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts

1. Combine flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder and cinnamon. In small bowl, blend eggs, margarine, honey, molasses, orange peel, vanilla and orange juice. Add liquid to dry ingredients; whip until smooth. Stir in figs, raisins and walnuts.

2. Spread in greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until done.

Fig Sugar Cookies
(Makes about 4 dozen)

1 cup chopped figs (about 1/2 lb)
1/3 cup water
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cook figs with water, stirring frequently, until thickened (about 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.

2. Beat butter with sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Blend well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in the cooled figs. Drop by teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 375 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks.

Fig Cake

1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
4 egg whites, beaten
1 1/2 cups chopped figs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

1. Cream sugar and butter. Add milk.

2. Sift flour. Measure and sift with salt and baking powder.

3. Add one-half of flour mixture to sugar and butter. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites and stir in remainder of flour and flavoring.

4. Take out one-third of this mixture. To the remaining two-thirds, add molasses, cinnamon and figs, which have been dredged in two tablespoons of the flour. Pour into well-oiled, slightly floured tube pan.

5. Swirl the remaining one-third light-colored mixture into the dark-colored mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 55 minutes.

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef