Figuring on Fabulous Figs

A bowl of fresh Mission figs.
Is there any fruit more temptatious than a fig? We think not!

A Roman symbol of abundance and fertility, some believe that the fig — and not the apple — is the true tantalizing fruit which, when consumed by Adam and Eve, led to the series of unfortunate events which eternally closed the Garden of Eden’s gates to the hapless pair.

Like apples, figs are a healthy snack eaten out of hand, but unlike the apple, the fig’s tiny, delicate seeds are edible and nutritious. Ripe figs are full of antioxidants and essential minerals, and dried figs have even greater nutritional value: a single dried fig contains almost as much calcium as a large egg.

Dried figs are readily available in grocery stores. The two most common varieties are Calimyrna (sometimes labeled as Smyrna or Turkish), and Mission.

Dried Calimyrna are large, beige figs with a thick skin. The interior is very moist and packed with crunchy seeds. The flesh is sweet with subtle notes of vanilla and bourbon, which works especially well in fillings, sauces, and jam.

Almost black with a thin, dark skin, Mission figs are much smaller than Calimyrna. The flesh is slightly dry with a subtly bitter fruitiness, and the unique musky-vanilla flavor is equally at home with yogurt at breakfast, smoked meats at dinner, and syrups at dessert.

Truth be told, Mission are our favored dried figs. We think that you'll love them too, so that we’re sharing our recipes for two special appetizers and one simple dessert featuring this very versatile fruit. Happy eating!

Burrata-fig Beggars’ Purses

Dried Mission figs plumped in Carpano Antica Formula, stuffed with burrata cheese, then wrapped in prosciutto crudo di Parma.
These decadent little bites are divine haute cuisine without hours of fuss. Dried Mission figs are stuffed with cheese, wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma, tied with a fresh chive and drizzled with a homemade vermouth reduction. Get the recipe.

Fig Compote and Chèvre Leaves

Fig Compote and Chèvre Leaves appetizer
A little more time-consuming but still simple enough for the casual cook ot master, these baked russet potato chips “leaves” are spooned high with goat cheese then topped with a lovely dried Mission fig compote. Get the recipe.

Lavender Panna Cotta with Candied Figlets

Lavender Panna Cotta with Candied Figlets.
This easy chilled dessert is as seductive as a summer evening in Italy. Candied dried Mission fig syrup and a scattering of toasted almonds on top of soft, floral-infused panna cotta are the perfect combo of silk, sweet, and crunch. Get the recipe.