I’m loopy over fresh figs; such a seductive fruit. And I love the fig tree, especially on hot summer nights, when the big, coarse leaves smell deliciously like vanilla and cinnamon. I like its sturdy stance, and the branches so generously laden with green and purple-striped fruit. To open a fig plucked right off the tree and see the mysterious red heart that promises a mouthful of sweetness, well…it’s a moment to cherish and come back to when you need to remember how good life can be.
There’s a great big old fig tree in my neighborhood that I visit once in a while, checking if the hard green little figs have ripened yet. I suspect the neighborhood kids and the birds will get most of them, but maybe I’ll get some too, if I’m alert. Till I can forage my figs, the shuk offers plenty of them. So I brought two kilos home.
Two kilos! That’s a lot of delicate figs. Now I had a kitchen dilemma. Could we eat them up before they spoil?
Figs baked with honey; that was good. Chilled fresh figs with frozen arak poured on top; also good. And before Shabbat, a cobbler, to finish them up. The recipe’s easy and it only takes half an hour to bake. The cobbler is light, just sweet enough, and a little different from the usual peach or apple cobblers.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar, and another 1/2 cup later
2 tablespoons softened butter or margerine
2 tablespoons milk or orange juice
1/2 cup sweet or semi-sweet wine (I used Emerald Reisling)
3-4 cups figs, sliced into quarters
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
optional: whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 375° F, 190° C. Use a medium cake pan or quiche dish.
1. Cut the stem end away from the tops of the figs; discard them and quarter the fruit. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the figs and set aside.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. Beat the eggs; add 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the butter or margarine and the milk.
4. To the wet ingredients, add the flour mixture. Stir gently until the ingredients are just combined. Pour the batter into the pan.
5. In a medium saucepan, boil the wine and the second 1/2 cup of sugar for 5 minutes. Add the figs; turn them over in the hot syrup and pour the mixture over the batter.
Bake 30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream if you wish.