Tag Archives: figs

Sherry Fig Bread

DSC_0174

Fig season is short but wonderful here in Albania. When figs are in season they are everywhere and in addition to eating them as is, I try to incorporate them into as dishes as possible.  There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe fig but a perfect piece of fruit can quickly turn to an over ripe one overnight.  When this happens I turn the figs into fig bread.

Over the years I’ve adapted and tweaked this recipe numerous times and think this version is “the one”. Brown sugar adds both depth and sweetness to the cake and complements the richness of the figs.  The alcohol from the sherry cooks off during baking but the distinct flavor remains as a nice surprise to unsuspecting diners.  The bread freezes beautifully and will keep for several months; simply allow it to cool completely then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  I take it out of the freezer the day before I am ready to eat it and allow it to come to room temperature while sitting on the kitchen counter.  You can pop it in the oven to heat it up before serving it or eat it as is.  Either way this treat extends the fig season well into the fall.

SHERRY FIG BREAD

1 1/2 cups fresh figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Generously coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine the figs and sherry in a small bowl; let stand for at least 15 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, beat the white sugar, brown sugar, oil and eggs on high-speed until light and frothy.
  • Add in the flour mixture and beat on low-speed until combined.
  • Gently stir in the figs and sherry.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert the bread onto a rack.
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Grilled Figs w/ Honey & Mascarpone

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If you love figs this is the dish for you.  Combining the classic Mediterranean ingredients of figs, honey, and mascaropne cheese, this dish is so simple to make.   As a bonus, it can be served as an appetizer on a buffet table or as a light dessert or even as snack.   Because there are only three ingredients make sure that you use the best quality ingredients you can find.  If you don’t have a grill the figs can be cooked under the broiler.

GRILLED FIGS w/ HONEY & MASCARPONE 

8 ripe figs

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

  • Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat a gas grill or broiler to high.
  • Slice the figs in half lengthwise.
  • Place a small dollop of mascarpone cheese onto the top of each fig.  Drizzle with the honey.
  • When the grill is hot, reduce the temperature to medium-high.  Place the figs directly onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 2-3 minute until the cheese melts and the outer skins of the figs just begin to char and turn crisp.  Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

Grilled Figs w/ Honey & Mascarpone

DSC_0033

If you love figs this is the dish for you.  Combining the classic Mediterranean ingredients of figs, honey, and mascaropne cheese, this dish is so simple to make.   As a bonus, it can be served as an appetizer on a buffet table or as a light dessert or even as snack.   Because there are only three ingredients make sure that you use the best quality ingredients you can find.  If you don’t have a grill the figs can be cooked under the broiler.

GRILLED FIGS w/ HONEY & MASCARPONE 

8 ripe figs

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

  • Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat a gas grill or broiler to high.
  • Slice the figs in half lengthwise.
  • Place a small dollop of mascarpone cheese onto the top of each fig.  Drizzle with the honey.
  • When the grill is hot, reduce the temperature to medium-high.  Place the figs directly onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 2-3 minute until the cheese melts and the outer skins of the figs just begin to char and turn crisp.  Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

 

Figgy Chicken

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Chicken and figs are the perfect combination and this dish is the perfect way to use up the last of the season’s fresh figs.  (Figs are so plentiful here in Albania that I often find myself struggling to find a variety of uses for them).  This dish only appears to be complicated and time-consuming.  Carmelized onions add depth to the dish and cook down while you are preparing the chicken.  Using thin chicken breasts allows the meat to cook quickly.  You can also make this dish up to two hours ahead of time and allow it to sit, covered over low heat on the stove top or in a 200 degree oven.  I served the chicken over orzo but you could easily substitute brown rice, mashed potatoes, noodles, or any starch that will absorb the yummy sauce.

FIGGY CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt & pepper to taste

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon sugar

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup dry sherry

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 fresh figs, quartered lengthwise

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat.  Add the sliced onions and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top.  Once the onions begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium and stirring occasionally, cook until the onions are brown and carmelized, 10-15 minutes.
  • While the onions are cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Using mallet, pound the chicken breasts until they are thin and even in thickness.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and cook until brown and cooked through, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Once the onions have cooked, add the chicken broth, sherry, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine.  Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the figs and stir gently being careful not to break them up.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Gently add the cooked chicken to the skillet and cook until the chicken is heated through, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Serves 4

Grilled Figs w/ Honey & Mascarpone

DSC_0033

If you love figs this is the dish for you.  Combining the classic Mediterranean ingredients of figs, honey, and mascaropne cheese, this dish is so simple to make.   As a bonus, it can be served as an appetizer on a buffet table or as a light dessert or even as snack.   Because there are only three ingredients make sure that you use the best quality ingredients you can find.  If you don’t have a grill the figs can be cooked under the broiler.

GRILLED FIGS w/ HONEY & MASCARPONE 

8 ripe figs

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

  • Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat a gas grill or broiler to high.
  • Slice the figs in half lengthwise.
  • Place a small dollop of mascarpone cheese onto the top of each fig.  Drizzle with the honey.
  • When the grill is hot, reduce the temperature to medium-high.  Place the figs directly onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 2-3 minute until the cheese melts and the outer skins of the figs just begin to char and turn crisp.  Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

Sherry Fig Bread

DSC_0174

Fig season is short but wonderful here in Albania. When figs are in season they are everywhere and in addition to eating them as is, I try to incorporate them into as dishes as possible.  There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe fig but a perfect piece of fruit can quickly turn to an over ripe one overnight.  When this happens I turn the figs into fig bread.

Over the years I’ve adapted and tweaked this recipe numerous times and think this version is “the one”. Brown sugar adds both depth and sweetness to the cake and complements the richness of the figs.  The alcohol from the sherry cooks off during baking but the distinct flavor remains as a nice surprise to unsuspecting diners.  The bread freezes beautifully and will keep for several months; simply allow it to cool completely then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  I take it out of the freezer the day before I am ready to eat it and allow it to come to room temperature while sitting on the kitchen counter.  You can pop it in the oven to heat it up before serving it or eat it as is.  Either way this treat extends the fig season well into the fall.

SHERRY FIG BREAD

1 1/2 cups fresh figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Generously coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the figs and sherry in a small bowl; let stand for at least 15 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the white sugar, brown sugar, oil and eggs on high-speed until light and frothy.

Add in the flour mixture and beat on low-speed until combined.

Gently stir in the figs and sherry.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert the bread onto a rack.

Grilled Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza

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I’ve written about making pizza before.  As our family’s schedules get increasingly busy, pizza is becoming more of a weeknight staple.  Making it together is also becoming a tradition with Sidney regularly inquiring about when he can help make dinner.  As much as we’ve been enjoying our homemade pizza, we’ve come to realize that our small, European-style electric oven just doesn’t get hot enough to produce the crispy crust we all prefer.  Lacking the ability to install a true pizza oven (that will have to wait until we are in our “forever” house), we’ve taken to baking the pizzas on our gas grill.  All it takes is placing our baking stone directly on the grill and we are good to go.  When the stone is thoroughly pre-heated, the resulting crust is just the way we like it, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Sidney is also pretty sharp; he has quickly learned that “Mamma doesn’t like tomato sauce” and makes sure none touches my pizza. While my boys usually rely on their standard of tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni or other sausage like meat, I get a bit more adventurous.  My latest creation pairs creamy goat cheese with the first fresh figs of the season.  Caramalized onions and a bit of crispy prosciutto round out the toppings.  This recipe makes enough topping for four individual pizzas.  You can easily reduce the amount to accommodate one or two pizzas.

GRILLED FIG & GOAT CHEESE PIZZA

For the pizza dough:

1 Teaspoon active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)

1 Teaspoon honey

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon Kosher salt

4 Teaspoons olive oil

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water.  Stir in the honey and let stand until the liquid begins to bubble, 3-5 minutes; stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Pulse the flour, salt, and remaining olive oil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  With the machine running, pour in the yeast mixture and process until the dough forms a ball around the blade.
  • Remove the dough from the processor and knead on a lightly floured surface, adding more flour as necessary, until smooth and elastic, 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough stretches gently when pulled, 30-60 minutes.
  • Punch dough down and divide into four pieces; shape into balls and roll in your hands until smooth, about one minute.
  • Arrange dough balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap coated with non-stick spray, and let rise for 30-60 minutes more.
  • Press each dough ball out on a lightly floured surface.  Turn dough, pressing on its center, then roll each into a 7 to 8 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds onto a pizza peel generously dusted with cornmeal; brush each with 1 teaspoon olive oil, then add toppings.

Pizza toppings:

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 ounces goat cheese, softened

6 ounces prosciutto, chopped

2 large rip figs, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place a pizza stone on the grate of an outdoor gas grill.  Close the lid and pre-heat the grill on high for at least half an hour.
  • Place two tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the onions and sugar then toss to coat.  Cook over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and caramelized.  Add a small amount of water if necessary to prevent them from sticking.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place two tablespoons of olive oil in another small saute pan.  Add the prosciutto and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the prosciutto  is crispy.

To Assemble the Pizzas:

Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each of the four pizza rounds.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Divide the caramelized onions over the top of the goat cheese then add the fig slices.  Sprinke with the crispy prosciutto then finally the minced thyme.

Place the pizzas directly onto the pre-heated pizza stone (you may need to do this in batches if you are cooking several pizzas).  In order to keep the grill hot,  shut the grill lid during the baking process.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is crispy and brown and the toppings are hot.  The amount of baking time may vary depending upon the temperature of your grill so watch the pizzas carefully so they don’t burn.

Carefully remove the pizzas from the grill and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Makes:  4 individual sized pizzas

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