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This year, for some reason, fig season just refuses to end this year, which is fine with me. Figs have two seasons; the first is usually late summer and the second begins mid-fall. The second crop is better-tasting and toward the end of the season, the prices drop as the bounty increases. I was at the market the other day, planning to buy some figs, when I noticed a vendor selling them for €5 (~$6) per flat. So I scooped them up, or rather, tried to pack the lug of them into my shopping bag, and headed home.

Often when I buy fresh fruit, people ask, “What you are going to do with them?” thinking perhaps I’m going to make a tart or ice cream or jam or chutney, which I sometimes do. But really, when you slice into fresh figs and jam-like sap is already oozing out, it’s not to resist not eating them just as they are.

However, the bargain-priced figs were ripe and ready – a few close to being too ripe (those got eaten right away as I hate wasting food…and I love perfectly-ripe figs, so it was a win/win) – and some went into a tart (I made a variation on this one), but the rest needed my immediate attention so I decided to revisit this recipe from the archives that I published quite a while ago, but one I make when figs are in season, and oven roast them.

When you’re buying figs, you do want one close to ripeness. Figs don’t ripen that well off the tree, and they’re ready to eat when soft and feel like water balloons. If they’re splitting, or look as if they’re just about to split, or if a small droplet of sap is oozing from the hole in the bottom, you know the figs will be sweet and syrupy. And it’s time to use them.

This is a pretty freestyle recipe and you’ve got a lot of latitude here. Since figs don’t exude much juice while baking, to end up with a dreamy syrup, I sometimes add a pour of red wine, or go with liqueur. Chartreuse adds a beguiling herbal flavor to the figs, but you can leave it out, or if you wish or grab something else that’s interesting from your liquor shelf, feel free to use that. Pastis and rum are nice, but if you want to keep them kid-friendly or are avoiding alcohol, apple juice or water can fill the bill.

I store the roasted figs in the refrigerator and eat them with my mid-morning bowl of yogurt and granola, although you could serve these at room temperature with fresh goat cheese, yogurt, or goat cheese custard if you’re leaning toward dessert – or lavender honey or fig leaf ice cream for a real treat with a spoonful of the syrup, or on a savory side, serve them warm alongside roast pork, chicken, or roasted root vegetables.

Roasted Figs

Use a baking dish or pan that will allow you to bake the figs in a single layer. One that is 2 quarts (2l) should do it. Depending on where you live, fresh fig season happens near the end of summer and mid-autumn. Additional flavoring options include adding a cinnamon stick, a few whole star anise, or branches of lavender. And I've offered some alternatives to the wine or liqueur in the post.
Servings 6 servings
  • 1 pound (450g) fresh figs
  • 4-6 branches fresh thyme, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine or a liquor, such as Chartreuse, Pernod, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Slice the stem end off the figs and slice each in half lengthwise.
  • Toss the figs in a large baking dish with the thyme (if using), red wine or liquor, brown sugar, honey, and lemon slice. Make sure when you're done the figs are in a single layer.
  • For figs that are softer and juicier, cover the baking dish snugly with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the figs are softened and cooked through. Times will vary depending on ripeness and the variety of figs.
  • When done, remove the baking dish from oven, lift off the foil, and let the figs cool completely.

Notes

Variation: For a savory variation, replace the liquor with one or two tablespoons of balsamic or sherry vinegar. A few branches of fresh thyme or rosemary can be added as well.
Storage: Roasted figs can be stored in their syrup in the refrigerator for up to one week. They can also be frozen and enjoyed later in the year.

Related Links and Recipes

Apricot Bars

How to Poached Pears

Rosy Poached Quince

Poached Prunes and Kumquats

Fig and Olive Tapenade


88 comments

    • Mrs Redboots

    Ooh – I don’t know whether my parents’ fig trees will have any more on them, but we are going to visit them tomorrow, and if they do, I’ll have to try your recipe. I love figs, but can’t eat more than one or two a day for obvious reasons, and when I made fig jam, it was a bit sweet nothing….

    • Hannah

    Oh no! I’ve missed fig season three years in a row because of travelling, and you have no idea how hard I’ve been craving them for all those years. Every now and again I’ve found off-season specimens, but they’ve tasted like nothing. These pictures are killing me…

    • tiina { sparkling ink }

    Oh yum. Figs are so gorgeous this time of year. This has all the flavors that make the holidays feel like holidays. I’m thinking about testing the recipe with vin santo.

    • Jessica @ How Sweet

    Those figs look to die for. We don’t get many around here.

    • Amber

    Wow! I love figs – my regular snack of choice.
    Lucky you that you got to visit!

    • A Plum By Any Other Name

    I must admit, I have a bit of fig envy: yours look gorgegous. I think figs are pretty much gone for the season for me, but I may try to plump some dried ones with some of the booze that you suggest.

    • Susan

    Those are the most gorgeous figs. My daughter called me from Whole Foods Friday to tell me they still had some fresh figs available. Mostly they had Calimyrna but only 1 basket of the Mission. I had her grab that last Mission so I could slice them into some caramelized onions as a garnish for a holiday side dish. (recipe from Elise Bauer site) This roasting method is turning my head! I’ve not tried the Calamyrna, can they be roasted like this as well?

    • lucy

    adoro i fichi per cui credo che arrostiti così naturalmente siano molto più gustosi e interessanti,il liquore e il timo fanno la differenza!

    • Jon

    I’m completely jealous of your figs – I haven’t seen any around where I live. Figs always make me think of my mother who usually hand selects them at her market and then eats them with yogurt as you do, but fresh, without the roasting. Lovely. I would love to try roasting them, if only I could find them. I’m going to file your recipe away though, maybe figs will arrive in Missouri sometime …

    • Sally Pasley Vargas

    I adore figs, but good ones are very hard to find in New England. This would be an excellent way to use those less-than-perfect figs that I am still compelled to buy (always hopeful) and a refreshing reprieve from the pies for post-holiday meals. Thanks.

    • Elisabet Figueras

    I love figs in every way, yours look amazing!

    • Pepper

    Is it possible to find fresh figs in southern Pennsylvania this time of year, or ever?! This is the dish I am missing for Thanksgiving.

    • Lynn

    David – do you know of any recipes for unripe figs? I have a tree that went crazy this year putting out over 100 figs but none of them ever ripened. I hate to waste them all!

      • Audrey Joubert

      In South Africa the first crop of figs was usually made into fig preserve. The figs are picked while still small. I don’t have a recipe but try google.

    • Lucie

    Roasted figs and almonds would be my dream breakfast every single morning of every single day for the rest of my life…not even kidding! With a side of fromage blanc…mmm. You’ve just made me very hungry! I haven’t been finding figs much for the past month in the 6th, but who knows?

      • john burke

      YES to fromage blanc, also Camembert or (in northern Calif) Cowgirl Creamer’s Mount Tam. It should be au point, as gooey as the figs. A fresh baguette and there you are.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Lynn: The best thing to do is likely make jam out of them. But as mentioned, it’s not always possible to get any flavor out of underripe figs. I would cook a few with some sugar in a saucepan and puree them and see how it tastes. Sometimes a little lemon juice perks them up, as does a pour of red wine to deepen the flavor.

    Jon & Jessica: When I lived in California, fresh figs were pretty common during the season and I remember when I moved there how excited I was to see so many of them available. Luckily in France we get them in season as well. But somehow I missed most of it this year, but am glad I got one final chance with some.

      • Karen Johns

      These look delicious! I’m going to roast some next time I see figs at the market. My Italian father-in-law grew figs and dried them. He stuffed the dried figs with walnuts to serve with a glass of wine. The New York Times has a good recipe for grilled figs with pomegranate molasses served with goat cheese. Fall season is here!

    • Georgia

    David, you inspire me! I will be thinking about you when I am in Paris tomorrow…
    My father-in-law roasts his figs in a slow oven until soft and caramelized. They are lovely. He also takes his labor intensive sun-dried figs, splits them and slips a walnut half and then bakes them in a slow oven until golden. Excellent stuff! True Italian cooking…

    • melinda

    i thought figs wouldn’t ripen after picking either, but after someone gave me a huge carton of unripe figs that i couldn’t bear to pitch, I spread them out & left em in the sun for a few hrs & they did ripen to my surprise….but i guess in paris you’d have trouble with the sun part of this equation…..

    • Dime Store Foodie

    Those figs are beautiful! I have a fig tree in my back yard and I am always looking for new ways to use them, since I can only make so much fig jam! Lovely post as always David.

      • rose

      Every holiday season I make fig salami’s out of halved overlapping dried figs and rolled around a ganache core. Generally well-received as a gift. Goat cheese center works too. They store forever in the freezer.

        • rose

        You do need a serrated knife to slice fyi.

    • korovka

    I need to make some…I had some roast figs (still hot from the oven) at craftsteak in Las Vegas, which we paired with tres leches ice cream. Delicious.

    • Janice

    You are so lucky to find such amazing figs! The fig season in the Bay Area this summer was not great. I recently got some wonderful fig-chocolate & balsamic jam from a new SF preserve & patisserie company. Your figs would also be great in a fall salad with persimmons, arugula, and a pomegranates vinaigrette.

    • Paris Paul

    OK, that’s it–if you cook as good as you photograph, I’m camping out on your doorstep!

    • JulieSF

    Oh my my my, these are absolutely beautiful!

    • Sam

    Divine! The figs are so beautiful. Thank you…

    • Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes

    Gorgeous. I might try this as a side dish for Thanksgiving.

    Here in Arizona, we mostly get lovely, ripe Mission figs, which I love to serve with some light California olive oil and cotija cheese.

    But I like your preparation much better. Thank you for the ideas!

    • Adrianne

    Especially beautiful and luscious photos this time! Thank you!

    • girl japan

    Fresh Figs are an abundance here, although I do pine toward dried figs for their sweetness, having said that, thanks for this post, I’m always looking for various ways to enjoy them, I like how light and not-so-sweet then can be Fresh, yet the opposite when dried. I think this is why I like Okonomiyaki sauce so much. I noticed though, the bunch you have is more rich and has more depth, in terms of color, the figs here, seem to lean toward a pinkish hue of red?

    Why is that, I wonder?

    • Katie@Cozydelicious

    I have never seen such beautiful red figs. They are wonderful! But figs have been gone from the market here for a couple weeks now… so sad!

    • Amanda

    Gorgeous, gorgeous looking figs!
    As far as I know, we only have the one fig season here in Australia – summer – and we are heading right into it. This recipe will most certainly be in my repertoire this year as I seek ways to use up the figs from our trees – thanks so much!

    • Nisrine

    The same happened to me with rhubarb this year. Their season was over before I had a chance to make anything with them. Back to the figs, they look amazing roasted. Whenever I grilled figs in the past Inoticed that they became bland as they cooked but with all the added ingredients in this roasted recipe it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Soma

    Luscious gorgeous and oh so delicious!!! I LOVE that red hue. We did not even get the fresh figs here this year. I could have these roasted figs all day long.

    • Tricia

    Amazed to find they still had figs at Whole Foods this last weekend! So I was able to make my fave Provencal dessert for a dinner party – fig galette with lavender honey ice cream. Those that weren’t perfectly ripe will now be roasted – thanks!

    • S Lloyd

    Roasting them with a bit of honey is something special.

    • Claudia

    Yes, please. Maybe in a ravioli.

    • jill appenzeller

    Another tip-off for unripe figs is milky sap from the stem – and it will give you a nasty rash when it’s fresh,, like a mild case of poison oak. I have two fig trees (brown turkey and black mission) and a rash for most of the late summer and fall…

    • Lynn

    Thanks David – I will try that. I found one recipe that calls for unripe figs preserved in a sugar syrup and I tried one batch. It falls sort of within the quince paste catagory of flavor which is not bad but not fig-a-licious. I may try to roast the recalitrant figs and then jam them. I may just have to be patient – the tree is only 3 years and is planted in Seattle.

    • Anna Johnston

    Figs, glorious, yummy figs…. I’m thinking I must of missed them this year too David, I haven’t used them in any of my specials/recipes, hmmmm…. thanks for pointing that one out. I adore proscuitto wrapped figs baked to a caramely goodness, or using as a stuffing in your turkey or pork for a Christmas feast…. Argh…. drool…. craving some figs now. :)

    • Kiki

    :) – you made my morning once more, dear David – I love figs and those pixies are to eat… (not to die for!)…. And me too, I seemed to have missed the fig season this year; they were too early and small, hard when I looked first and gone when I looked again…. I have bought one really nice, sweet lot on the market in Paris on a Sunday but apart from that, I might not even had another buy…. And I LOVE LOVE them, with cheese, with nothing, with a Porto… (thinking of my visit to Lisbon!)
    Merci, thank you – delicious yummy post!

    • Kiki

    @ tiina: YEP, gorgeous with vin santo! Makes me salivate just to think I had exactly THAT under a fig tree in Northern Italy many years ago!
    @ lucy: benvenuto – me fa piaccere leggere un po d’italiano!
    @ paris paul: is there some room left for me hovering on David’s doorstep?! :)
    @ nisrine: me too…. and I WAS looking everywhere! all I saw was rubbish (not rhubarb) – luckily I have ONE plant, saved me from insanity!
    @ anna johnston: yessssss, wrapped in proscuitto, a DELICE! mmmmmh
    @ david: how large is your doorstep???? Can I bring Hero Husband too (weekends only!) – You have become a staple in my blog household – unmissable!!!!!

    • Mary Bess

    Your posts are enjoyable.

    Could you put the subject of the post (like “Roasted Figs” or “Figs”) in the subject line so that when I search the posts I’ve saved, it isn’t necessary to open each one to find the subject I’m looking for?

    Thanks,

    Mary Bess

    • Csiki Sandor

    It is a really easy, amazing and great recipe. Wonderful yummy figs and their photos are also beautiful. I have a nice fig tree, but this year in Budapest (Hungary, Europe) the fig not enough ripe, so I will prepare a green fig jelly.

    • Sweet Freak

    I cannot stop salivating. Is it the photos or just the figs themselves? I think I will have to have figs and cheese for dinner tonight!

    • TGirlZA

    I haven’t had the gumption to try making them myself, but in South Africa candied green figs in a (sometimes gingery) syrup are often served with cheeses. It’s a great way to use up a glut of unripe figs (in fact the figs must be unripe for the recipe to work). Not sure if this link will work, but here’s one recipe I found online: http://www.justfoodnow.com/2009/10/29/groenvyekonfyt-green-fig-preserve/

    • Shari

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never eaten a fresh fig! I’ve had a fig newton cookie, but I’m sure the flavors don’t even resemble each other. The fresh figs in your photos look so, -dare I say it, -lascivious. : )

    • Tammy

    This makes me a bit sad: I blinked (or maybe I yawned) and fig season slipped by. And I have trees! We picked, cooked a bit, then rains came, and it was all over. All or nothing with this fruit. And that one fig of yours, just bitten into…sumptuous.

    • Catherineap

    Wow, those figs are so red! Here’s what I do: Rinse whole figs but don’t dry them. Roll them in granulated sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it) and arrange in a baking dish, stems up and closely packed. Bake in a hot oven until the figs are soft and juicy (depends o0n how ripe they are but start to check after 15 minutes). Good hot or cold, especially with creme fraiche.

    • Susan

    Those figs look wonderful. I always seem to miss out on the fig season! Luckily there are lots of dried varieties though which satisfies my fig craving!

    • Anna

    mmm they are beautiful. i love figs, they are just so sweet and delicious, and they feel special because you can only find them in season (at least where i live). thanks for the yummy recipe and photos!

    • Gavrielle

    Not apropos of this, but I just had to say how excited I am that my copy of Ready For Dessert has just arrived! I haven’t got very far with it yet, but in the opening stuff alone it’s packed with wisdom. Springform tins leak? Yes, they do – and I always feel like it’s my fault since no other cookbook writer ever bothers to mention this. And thanks, David, for the excellent tip on storing a candy thermometer – I never know what to do with it to keep it safe. Can’t wait to read the rest! I’m especially thrilled at how many fruit-inclusive recipes made the cut as I love to bake with fruit above all else.

    • Marilou

    Completely unrelated, but how about doing a Paris food tour with Dorie Greenspan. I’d be there in a heatbeat.

    • Natalie Thiele

    I wolfed down buckets full of figs this year. None, though, were nearly as beautiful as yours. I live next to the delta in the Sacramento valley and the roadside is loaded with fig trees. No one seems to want the figs, but me. Maybe it’s the danger of being killed by a lunatic driver, I don’t know, but I found it worth the risk. Figs have been gone for a month and a half around here.
    I look forward to trying your recipe next year.

    • Lisa Walker- thedeftchef

    I have not seen figs like that since I was living in San Francisco. Can you please say what type these are?

    -Lisa

    • hope cohen

    These figs look amazing! Our family is a Fig loving family, so when I saw these, so red + delicious I was totally hooked. I’ve eaten figs in Italy, France, Greece and the USA but have also never seen this color before. Any idea what variety these were?
    Thanks!

    • Kruzon

    Baked figs, never thought of that except as in cookies or such.

    • Joy

    Ohh I love figs.

    • zonga

    no way, I think I was starring for a minute in a picture :)) seriously this is probably very delicious! I can make it for anniversary for a girls, they gonna love it, I always surprise them with something nice…
    thanks

    • Sliwka

    I looooove the idea!! I think I’ve never tried roasted figs, but I always use fresh ones to make my favourite salad: figs, feta cheese, rocket, walnuts and lime salsa all over it-it’s perfect!

    • Victoriao

    Wow those figs are gorgeous. My fig tree produced a lot this year and once again I had no idea what to do with them besides make preserves, eat them fresh and give them away. Roasting them sounds wonderful with thyme and wine. Thank you for the recipe, too bad I’ll have to wait until next year!

    • Mark

    Good advice on the figs. Thanks. I love them whenever and wherever I can find them. Kind of glad they have such a short growing season as I would probably get sick of them….. nah!! I will definitely try your recipes as soon as the next season starts. I usually roast them with blue cheese and maybe a little prosciutto, but the sweet side looks as tantalizing as the savoury side.

    • Tom @ Tall Clover Farm

    David, I grow figs,and none of mine look this good — these are gorgeous. Should you make a repeat trip to that market vendor, would you be so kind as to ask if he or she knows the variety? Merci.

    • Elana

    These look divine!

    • Vickie Smith

    David these are beautiful. If they taste as good as they look then I’m in. I’ll have to wait until next season. The season just passed here and all the figs are gone. I’ll have to share some roasted figs with the neighbors when they come into season. Could be it might make them feel better about when our little goats stand in the fig tree and stare at them over the fence. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the great pictures. I always appreciate the quality pictures. It helps to know what to look for when I’m following the recipe.

    • Bonnie

    Do you think this would work with the gallons of figs I froze? Or would they get too mushy?

    • Diane B.

    Figs freeze very well. I halve them and freeze them on a baking sheet, then bag them up. I make a lot of fig galettes over the winter, and just made a fig upside-down cake.

      • Bonnie

      Nice! I froze mine whole Always next year I guess!

    • Karen S.

    Gorgeous! I wonder what variety those are. Another great flavoring combo for figs is sherry plus nutmeg. I prefer to simmer them on the stovetop to keep them syrupy.

    • Brenda LeDrew Keyes

    I have never read such a fig following! I have never had the pleasure of eating fresh figs. As a young girl growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada… my festive Mother would gather dried fruits and plenty of coveted nuts-in-the shell to display at the Christmas parties. Figs were prominent on the fancy silver tray.

    Her renown Christmas cakes, (saturated with Barbados rum and wrapped in cheesecloth for months prior) – always had a healthy amount of chopped figs in the fruit mix.

    Please send me some fresh figs!!! This has been a treat to read of your followers’ epic delights.

    • terry sauer

    I went to the Farmers Market this morning and bought a basket of figs with a vague idea of what I might make. i came home to your email. Genius. Will be making this afternoon. How did you know I needed this recipe!

    • Caroline Herbert

    We have a fig tree in our garden in the Gers ( SW France). There is much scrutiny over the summer season: will it fruit, or have the rains or drought had the better of our crop?
    Then, suddenly, the tree is covered with small fruit that stay hard for some time and then suddenly become become plump and soft. That is the time to start harvesting. But we are not alone . The blackbirds have also been doing assiduous quality controls and are invariably there before us.

    However, as time goes on, the tree gets bigger and this year there was enough for all of us.
    A favorite way of baking them is a Nigella recipe that calls for the fruit to be quartered, still leaving them intact, then anointed with melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla essence, sugar, rose water and orange flower water. Blasted under a hot grill, then served with mascarpone and shards of pistachios.
    Bring on the dancing girls!

    • Susan

    Ahhh figs, I do love fresh figs but they do not love Mass. or any part of new England that I know of. Sometimes the area Italian markets will have them at a kings ransom per fig but otherwise it’s dried figs or nuthin’ ( cue tears and sniffles) . These look absolutely gorgeous David. Thank you for the pictures. A girl can dream I s’pose

    • Wendy

    Where do the figs you buy in Paris come from? (Spain?)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Some come from France (the Figues de Solliès are particularly sought-after) and some from Spain, and likely elsewhere.

    • Silvia B.

    you are so lucky! Here in Australia, we have figs only once, in February, and that’s it.

    Probably that’s also the reason for the price” between 5 and 8 australian dollars EACH (the price of a cup of coffee more or less). Enjoy!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      8$ each? Yikes…maybe I should trade you for some Lamingtons? ; )

    • Michael Carleton

    I (and my family) love figs for their definitive seasonality, which happily is quite languorous this year. We call the late-in-the-season ultra-ripe versions ‘jelly-bombs’. I’ve shared your recipe for fig leaf ice cream with friends to good response, and also profit from the late crops to make tapenades and pizzas…

    • Anna Milic

    This looks lush – would you have any ideas or recipes for medlars, David? I think in France they are called [dogs bottoms]! I have a tree, and let them blet, but apart from jelly or liqueur haven’t made much with them. Their jam is a lot of work!! Thank you, Anna (UK)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, but I’ve only used them for Medlar Jelly. Some people made medlar “cheese” (sort of a molded jelly) but I haven’t made one, but you can likely find recipes for it online.

    • Michael

    David the first recipe of yours I made was your sensational pork loin with roast figs. I have been a follower of yours ever since.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Figs go so well with pork. Glad to hear that recipe is a hit!

    • Bee

    Dear David,
    want you to know that I always read your blog when I am feeling blue and it always lifts my spirit.
    We will never meet, yet I consider you a friend. Lovely figs

    • Carol

    Oh my! It is the very end of fig season here in central North Carolina, and every single fig feels like a treasure now. We made these roasted figs using a little orange liqueur and served them on top of coconut milk panna cotta. Divine. Now I can’t wait for fig season next year – I plan to try all the different variations. Thank you, David!

    • Susan Brower

    I only had about 10 figs left and made this recipe anyway ’cause they were going and it’s so easy. Used a nice, full-bodied red wine (Syrah); no thyme. OMG, SO DELICIOUS, how do I not just eat the whole thing right now?… Put it in the freezer so that I don’t. Will bring out in a few months to serve over ice cream and impress guests. Thank you, David!

    • Fer A

    you know, what is crazy to me? I moved to dijon2 month s ago for my master(at which I’m utterly failling), but I see your posts, and I think. “I need to buy figs, I need to check out those wild mushrooms, etc SO different from when I back home ( I do miss going to the tortillería though, an important part of my life. Anywho, thanks for the stories. they are as good as the recipes.

A

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