It’s too late for figs here in Piedmont North Carolina, the late summer season having passed us by — though with warmer than usual days popping up now and then, it can be difficult to tell. They come and go quickly, and by the time we’ve eaten them fresh off the tree, or wrapped in proscuitto or chopped up and mixed with toasted cumin for a delicious salsa, or canned a few batches as fig preserves or fig jam, they are gone for the year. Fresh market still had some beautiful deep purple mission figs and greenish-reddish-brownish brown turkey figs, and chopped up coarsely and tossed with sugar, flour, a bit of cinnamon, a splash of lemon juice and bits of butter, they made a fine pie. The color and flavor remind me of the muscadine pie from last week, but they have their own figginess and distinctive quality as well. Just wonderful as is, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream or plump cloud of whipped cream would stretch the juicy filling just a tad bit further and would not be turned down around here. To prepare the figs, cut away and discard the stem end and a very thin slice of the blossom end; then halve them lengthwise and crosswise to make generous chunks.
Nancie’s Fresh Fig Pie
Pastry for a double-crust pie
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups very coarsely chopped fresh ripe figs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into bits
Heat the oven to 375 degress F. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt, and stir with a fork to mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the figs and the sugar-flour mixture, and toss gently to mix them evenly. Pour the figs into the piecrust, and mound them up toward the center in to a little pile. Pour lemon juice over the figs, and dot with the bits of butter. Cover with the top crust and press the sides together to seal them well. Trim and fold the edges under firmly; then crimp to seal the pie, or press the edges down with the tines of a fork to seal them and make a pretty design. Use a fork or a knife to make steam vents so that steam and juicy filling can escape as the pie cooks. Place in the 375 degree F oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until the filling is thick and juicy and bubbling out around the top of the pie, and until the crust is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and cool to room temperature.
Copyright Nancie McDermott, October 2010, all rights reserved.