Food & Drink

Chew On This: Recipes for a fig bounty

This year has produced an unexpected fig crop after harsh winter weather.
This year has produced an unexpected fig crop after harsh winter weather.

Right now I have 15 pounds of figs in my freezer.

If you had asked me four months ago if that were possible, I would have looked out my window at my damaged fig trees and sadly said, “No.”

Last winter’s freezing temperatures and harsh conditions did a number on my fig trees and many others across the region. The trees were still alive but many limbs were dead. Mine had to be cut back dramatically – one to the ground.

Surprisingly, my fig trees have rebounded and put on an impressive amount of fruit.

However, two neighbors’ fig trees survived the winter unscathed. This recent wet weather means they had fat figs with split skins that had to be picked before the birds or the bugs got to them. And so now my neighbors and I have freezers packed full of figs.

Eventually, I’ll make fig preserves out of that frozen stash. I’ve been joking that I’ll be giving away jars of fig preserves and fig jams in triplicate this holiday season.

But the figs keep coming. My daughter and I love eating them whole, fresh off the tree.

There are so many that I’ve been looking for what else I can do with these figs.

My neighbor, Cheryl Whisenant, makes a fig cobbler similar to one that appeared in Relish magazine earlier this month. I share an adaptation of her recipe below.

But my favorite way to eat them currently is a recipe I developed last summer. I cut fresh figs in half and drizzle them with mascarpone cheese thinned with some heavy cream. I add a few drizzles of honey and some toasted pecans or whatever other nuts I have on hand. It makes a delicious breakfast or dessert.

My recipe makes more of the mascarpone cream and nuts than you will need for two servings. But since figs often only ripen a few at time, I like to have those on hand for future treats.

I’m looking for more fig inspiration. Send me your favorite fig recipes and I’ll share a few next week.