Sunday, November 6, 2011

Crazy for Figs

My husband thinks my behavior in the vicinity of figs is a little outrageous. Let's face it, I'm crazy for figs, I can be a little obsessive. In fact, driving through Italy where fig trees seem to grow wild everywhere, I have been known to screech, “Fiiig treeee!!!” My husband, accustomed to this zaniness and wanting this to be over quickly, will pull over while I clamber through snake-infested weeds so I can pluck the delicious prize: ripe and luscious figs. I grab as many as my sticky hands can hold and cram a few in my mouth, darting back to the car, my husband's annoyance mitigated only by the sheer delight of sharing this "manjar de los dioses."

My earliest memories of eating ficus carica was in the hot, dusty Northern Mexican town of Villaldama, Nuevo León, the ancestral home where my father would take my sister and me on a train ride from Laredo to visit our grandmother, Mamá Manuelita. The interior courtyard of my grandmother's modest colonial house was overgrown with fig trees which surrounded an old well in the center. Our cousins would join my sister and me in the shade of the courtyard where we would sit eating the mushy black fruit with the glistening, ruby-red center.

Is it any wonder that here in Maryland I've been successful in growing these trees? They consistently yield a bumper crop each year, providing me with the challenge of figuring out a million ways to use them after I tire from eating them off the tree or pushing them onto friends and neighbors. So, after making jams, tarts, and sorbeto de higo all summer, I've been enjoying them now in November, taking them out of the freezer, already peeled and ready to roast in the oven.  This simple recipe with honey and citrus peel syrup, is one that has probably been around since the time of Adam and Eve.

So, in the spirit of the great Aesop's Fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, all you grasshoppers out there, take heed from the ant and freeze some figs next year so that in the middle of the fall (or winter) you can pull them out and make this really special dessert for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.

Honey Roasted Figs

Recipe Type: Dessert

Author: Gilda Valdez Carbonaro

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

Serves: 8

Figs, the first food to be cultivated by humans, even before wheat, are very rich in calcium and other nutrients.


  • 1 ½ lbs fresh or frozen figs, peeled

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • zest of one lime, one lemon, one tangerine and one orange

  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Place the figs on a baking dish that may be used to serve them.

  3. Sprinkle the sugar and drizzle the honey.

  4. Bake until the sugar caramelizes, 40-50 minutes.

  5. Serve at room temperature.


Reconstituted dried figs may be used but the baking times will differ.


  1. I love this recipe...and I love figs...I could so picture you asking your husband to pull over the side of the road so you could pick some figs. I GET IT!! My husband once gave me a fruit of the month club from Harry and David and I received three different types of figs for three months. The following year my mother-in-law gave me a fig tree for my birthday! I was in heaven on both occasions. If you like fig recipes you should take a look at the fig empanadas my sister Yvette made...I think you'll like 'em. Thanks for sharing your great stories and recipes. Besitos

  2. I LOVE figs! I am crazy for figs, but we are surrounded by black walnut trees, which I do not like to harvest at all! Oh, to have a fig tree!!!

  3. Gilda Valdez CarbonaroNovember 6, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    Are the walnuts good?

  4. Gilda Valdez CarbonaroNovember 6, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    I will definitely have to add the fig empanadas to my repertoire. Thank you!

  5. It looks delicious Gilda, I will try it and I will let you how it tasted later, but whatever you cook is perfect.

    Thank you.


  6. Gilda Valdez CarbonaroNovember 6, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Thanks, Oralia. I'm going to try to make them with reconstituted dried figs next, since I'm completely out of the frozen ones :(


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.