Be sure to read garden expert Shelley Cramm’s guest post on growing figs in your backyard. Here’s my companion piece, a story about a cake that started out as a pie.
A Cake that Started Out as a Pie
Figs are delicious to eat and pretty to photograph, right? They invite comments and recipes, too.
My friend Chef Scott Peacock shared a portrait of late summer figs on his Instagram back in 2018. The green, brown and burgundy figs tumbled over a platter on a wooden sideboard, and the light warmed the fruit at a decidedly late summer angle. The evocative image got lots of oohs, aahs and emojis, and at least one recipe for the best use of the figs:
Here is Lazy Fig Pie, from my cousin Sammy Stone, in Decatur (AL)!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add 8 tbs unsalted butter to a baking dish (glass, ceramic, or cast iron pan great, too) and place in oven to heat pan and melt butter.
Stir together 1 C all purpose flour, 1 C sugar, 1/8 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbs baking powder in a large bowl. Add 3/4 c whole milk and mix well.
Pour into hot pan over melted butter. Do not stir butter in. Halve figs and dot around the top, skin side down. Bake for around 45 minutes, until slightly brown on top.
Omg delicious served hot!
Room temp, too. Serve with ice cream (vanilla or creme fraiche are favorites)! Enjoy!!
I bookmarked this recipe back in 2018 but didn’t make it until 2022. OMG! IT’S fantastic!
Read on for more about growing figs and making a fig cake that started out as a fig pie.
We planted a fig tree in our backyard probably 20 years ago. Here’s the wonderful thing about growing figs ~ in our zone 7b climate, they’re ridiculously easy to grow. They need only about 100 chill hours to fruit and are not bothered by pests or disease pressure to a great degree. In fact, pest pressure kicks in when the fruit starts to ripen. Birds, mosquitoes and bees protect the fruit, buzzing and squawking when I venture close to pluck fruit. For harvests of more than a handful of figs, I protect my skin with bug spray, long sleeves, long pants, long socks and hiking shoes. It’s an effort.
Still, it’s worth it because the harvest of the delicate fruit lasts just a few weeks. I have a couple recipes that I rely on to help use up the sweet figs ~ a sweet fig dessert sauce for cake, ice cream or yogurt, and Lazy Fig Pie that I’m rebranding to Fig Skillet Cake.
Fig Skillet Cake
The inspiration recipe for this dish is called a pie, and I accept that. However, it became a cake in my kitchen. The recipe reminds me of a clafouti without eggs. (Clafouti is a French cake-like dessert made by pouring batter over fruit, usually fresh, pitted cherries.)This batter is unique in that it doesn’t require eggs, just a heaping tablespoon of baking powder to give the cake structure and lift.
I make the recipe in a cast iron skillet. I think you can use any kind of oven-safe pan for this cake. Begin by melting butter in a cast iron pan placed in a moderate oven. (Note: I cut down on the butter from the inspiration recipe and it’s plenty buttery). Next, stir up a batter of sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla and milk and pour into sizzling pan. Dot with figs, then slide into oven to bake.
Fig Skillet Cake Recipe
Inspired by @ediblemarinwc
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put butter in skillet in oven to melt.
- In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk and vanilla. Use a whisk and work out all the lumps.
- Pour batter into sizzling skillet and dot with halved figs. Return pan to oven. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
- Cake will turn golden brown. It’s ready when the center springs back to the touch.
- Serve fig skillet cake warm with ice cream or yogurt. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Learn About Figs
Grow figs in your own backyard and have fresh fruit on hand to make this delicious cake. Garden expert Shelley Cramm shares her wisdom about growing figs in a guest post.