It’s been a while since my last update. I could whinge, excuse myself, apologise profusely. But how about I just give you a recipe to set your mouth watering, your pulse to accelerate and your tummy to rumble? No, not good enough? Okay, how about three then?
Good things happen in threes right? Which is why when you’re lucky enough to have a friend who owns a fig tree, one recipe is just simply not enough. Green figs in summer are one of life’s sweet pleasures, and by sweet I mean juicy, delectable and lip smackingly tasty. Sure I experimented with figs in salad, granola, caramelised figs on pizza, and even the odd fig smoothie.
These three recipes definitely aren’t all that I made—I did come home with baskets, bags and buckets of figs after all. But these are the standouts. The exceptions to my trials, and by exception I mean exceptional.
Before you read any further, I must warn you that if you have a sweet tooth, then possibly nothing from this point on will get between you and your kitchen.
Fig and Walnut Brownies
These fig brownies are rich, moist and very chocolatey. I usually use raspberries, but a quick and easy fig substitute gives them tangy, fibrous and crunchy texture. It’s always fun to mix things up after all!
220g Chopped Dark Chocolate (I prefer eating)
250g Chopped Butter
11/2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
11/2 Cups Plain Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
10 Fresh Figs
150g Chopped Walnuts
Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and preheat your oven to 160°C fan forced.
Melt the chocolate and butter together (using whatever method you like—I prefer saucepan, but you can use a microwave if you’re impatient, or a double boiler if you’re old school).
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar. Mix well and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs and beat in, gradually pulling the dry ingredients into the centre until combined (this stops any lumps).
Pour in the chocolate/butter mixture and stir until combined. Add the walnuts.
Cut the figs in half and scoop out the insides. If they’re very ripe and juicy they should fall apart, but if they’re a little more firm, just break them up so the portions are small enough to spread evenly through the mixture. Chunks of fig are great, but not if only half of the slices include them! Mix gently to combine the figs and walnuts.
Transfer the mix into the square tin, and cook for between 50-60 minutes, or until the centre doesn’t wobble (or a knife comes out with damp crumbs rather than liquid). I might say that an important step at this stage is to lick the bowl. Spatulas are great inventions aren’t they?
Allow to cool completely in the pan, as they’ll still be a bit goopy (but I don’t blame you for sneaking a sample when they’re still warm).
Cut them quite small as they are a very rich and filling treat!
There is nothing more comforting than warm scones fresh out of the oven. The fig flavour in these is subtle, but the texture is beautifully indulgent.
4 Cups Self-Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
80g Chopped Butter
1 Cup Milk
8 Fresh Figs
Preheat your oven to 190°C fan forced, and grease a flat oven tray.
Combine the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl with your fingertips. Rub the flour and butter together until the butter is no longer in chunks, but rather crumbs throughout the flour. Mix in the sugar.
Make a well and pour in the milk. Mix with a butter knife until the mixture comes together. At this point it will feel quite dry and you’ll have a lot of flour in crumbs and not coming together.
Cut the figs in half and scoop out the insides, adding them to the dough. Using your hands, squish the figs into the dough, bringing it together and kneading it gently in the bowl. Add extra flour if it’s too sticky.
Knead lightly on a floured surface, then cut into 12-16 rough squares (between 2-3 inches high). Don’t squish into shape, it’s okay if they look lumpy and different sizes, scones are supposed to look rustic!
Place on the tray, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until risen and a gentle golden brown.
Serve with jam of your choice and fresh whipped cream. Trust me when I say you’ll want one when they’re fresh out of the oven.
Fig, Maple and Pedro Ximinez Ice Cream
Finally, the showstopper. I may be biased, but this ice cream is the best I’ve ever tasted. The combination of rich, raisin flavours from the pedro, combined with the sweetness of the figs and maple, makes this creamy treat eye-closingly-moan-worthy.
15 Fresh Figs
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (None of this ‘Maple Flavoured Syrup’ nonsense)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Pedro Ximinez (I prefer a rich, sweet, and heavy on the raisins one)
2 Tablespoons of Pure Cream
1 Cup Full Cream Milk
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Egg Yolks
1 Cup Pure Cream (the thicker the better)
2 Tablespoons Pedro Ximinez
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Cut the figs in half and scoop out the insides, mushing together in a bowl so there are no chunks. Mix in the maple syrup, pedro and cream until combined. Cover and refrigerate.
Combine the milk, sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to warm and then whisk in the egg yolks. Continue to cook over medium heat for up to 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You want the mixture to be thick enough to stick to the back of your spoon without running off. The thicker the custard, the fluffier your ice cream will be!
Strain into a bowl, over the cream. Add the Pedro and vanilla, and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours (the longer the better—within reason!).
Pour the custard mix into your ice cream maker. Once it’s reached a good consistency (your maker should be able to tell you when), then pour into an airtight container (recycled yogurt tubs work a treat), layering with the fig paste. This means that each scoop will be a mixture of sweet fig paste and smooth ice cream!
Place in freezer overnight.
Indulge. Indulge some more. Then get back in the kitchen and make a second batch. You’re welcome.