Smooth-skinned and lusciously sweet, figs have a unique taste and texture, with slightly chewy flesh peppered with tiny, crunchy seeds. Their high sugar content pairs perfectly with similarly intense flavours, adding a burst of sweetness to savoury dishes and a distinctive texture and aroma to sweet treats.
How to choose the best figs
Select plump, soft and purple specimens, with no bruising or splits. Unripe figs will be hard and green in colour, while overripe fruits may feel mushy and smell sour. The fresh fruit is in season from August to early October, while dried varieties are available all year round.
Check out our fruity fig recipes below, then get more inspiration from our collection of best-ever fig recipes. Learn about the health benefits of figs and find out more about choosing, preparing and storing figs in our glossary entry.
Top 12 ways to serve figs
1. Jams and chutneys
Ripe and juicy figs are ideal for turning into homemade jams and tangy chutneys. Our sweet fig jam is delicious spread on toast or swirled into yogurt, and also makes a great gift. You can also make chutney to accompany your cheeseboard – our sticky fig and port preserve is perfect for the festive season.
2. Pies and tarts
Figs + pastry = endless possibilities. Choose from sweet or savoury flavours, a pastry lid or crisp base, or fully enclose your fillings in buttery, flaky goodness.
Incorporate figs into a symphony of tastes and textures with sticky honey-glazed halloumi, peppery rocket, salty prosciutto and toasted almonds. The sweet flavour of figs pairs well with creamy mozzarella and bitter salad leaves like chicory, so why not get inventive with your own assemblage?
Is there anything more enticing than a fruit-filled bake? Pack in natural sweetness and give comforting classics like crumble, the humble Swiss roll and classic coffee cake a figgy twist. Dried figs also work marvels in Christmas fruit cakes along with currants, nuts spices and spices – they soak up any booze beautifully!
Check our more dried fig recipes
5. Served with meat
Naturally sweet figs add a new dimension to gamey meats like quail, dark meat such as duck and salty, cured meats such as prosciutto and rich lamb cutlets.
Try these fig and meat dishes...
Quails with figs and walnut sauce
Sticky fig lamb cutlets with warm bean and couscous salad
Lacquered duck with grilled figs
Figs with prosciutto
Ricotta, fig and prosciutto crostini
Fresh figs feel right at home nestled into a sponge pudding or topped with sweet, crunchy crumble. Their rich fruity flavour and jammy texture adds an extra layer of comfort to wintry desserts, which is only enhanced with a giant dollop of ice cream.
7. Served with cheese
We can’t get enough of that salty-sweet combination. Plump, fresh figs pair well with a wide variety of cheeses, from crumbly, sharp stilton to creamy brie.
8. Pizzas and breads
Take the cheese and meat pairing up a notch and pop them all on a pizza. A bready base offers the perfect vehicle to get all that goodness from plate-to-mouth, with an added hit of carby pleasure.
Try these fig pizzas and picnic breads...
Rye pizza with figs, fennel, gorgonzola and hazelnuts
Fig and Serrano ham picnic bread
Fig and prosciutto pizzettas
Step away from tired old sage and onion stuffing – these fruity flavours will give the classic Sunday roast side a much-needed lift. Fig and apples make a delicious autumnal combination in our pork loin roast, whilst pancetta provides a salty contrast to this sweet fruit in Emma Freud's American-style stuffing.
10. Sweet and savoury snacks
Figs provide a fruity flavour hit in sweet and savoury snacks. Throw a handful of chewy toffees into the filling to make fig rolls with truly sticky, sweet centers that are so much better than anything you’ll find in a packet. Or serve our heavenly sticky shallot, fig and almond filo parcels as a tasty vegan canapé at Christmas.
11. Toasted sandwiches
Did we mention figs and cheese are a dream combo? A case in point is this toasted cinnamon bagel, loaded with creamy ricotta, sweet figs and honey, tangy blackcurrant jam plus a sprinkling of crumbled sesame snap. Or use up your Christmas leftovers in a gourmet grilled brie, ham and fig, jam toastie – it's simply oozing with cheesy goodness!
12. Simply spiced
Let the natural beauty of the fruit take centre stage for an easy, yet effective, end to a dinner party.
Get more autumnal recipe inspiration...
What are your favourite ways to serve figs? Let us know in the comments below...