October 31, 2022

Caramelized Figs


Happy Halloween!  For our spooky day sweet treat, we decided to fig it out!  It really is the season for figs in Hong Kong as the markets have been absolutely flooded with fresh plump figs recently.  A bit of sugar and a hot pan and you’ve got really scrummy caramelized figs.  It’s an easy and non tricksy way to prepare a perfectly perfect and healthy sweet treat!


The star of this show is the fig.  Plump and purple skinned lobes of lusciousness.  Sweet punk hued soft insides with tiny bits of delightfully crunchy seeds.  An yummilicious mouthful of taste and texture.  I still remember the first time I ever bit into a fig, still warm from the sun, the revelation of it, the delight and the happiness.

Ficus carica 1771 - Illustration by Trew, CJ 

Interestingly, did you know that the pink crunchy flesh inside the fig is not just seeds?  It's flowers as well as the seeds!  And figs have to pollinated from the inside by specialized fig wasps that crawl inside the little hole in the bottom of the fig in order to do that.  Weird, amirite?  

But don't worry, you're not going to encounter a wasp inside your fig unless you eat a wild one.  Commercially cultivated figs are sterile and will not have any insect-y surprises inside.


The preparation for caramilized figs couldn’t be easier.  With one caveat.  I first tried making this treat by putting the sugar in the pan with the figs on top.  It seemed logical that way.  But the caramelization didn't work out so well.

 Then I tried making this with sugar on top of figs.  Wow, what a difference! Definitely the way to go is to put a generous pinch of sugar on the top of the figs before cooking.


Why sugar on top?  Well, you see, the heat from the cooking fig will slightly melt the sugar so that it clings to the cut side of the fig.  You can see in the photo above how the sugar has darkened and melted.


Then, when you flip the fig over, all the sugar ends up right where you want it to be, between the fig and the pan, ready to caramelize right onto the surface of the cut side of the fig.


Look at that caramelization!  Complex sweet, buttery toned caramel cooked into lusciously soft, sweet, warm figs.  What a treat indeed!  
Caramelized Figs Recipe
Prep time: 1 min   Cook time: 2 mins


  • 4 figs
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar


Heat up a thick bottom pan over medium low heat.  Wash figs and dry completely.  Cut off hard tops, then slice in half.  Place fig halves onto hot pan, cut sides up.  Give each fig a generous pinch of sugar.  

Let cook about a minute or until the sugar melts into the fig.  Flip over.  Cook for another minute or until the sugar is browned and caramelized and the fig is soft.  Be sure to keep an eye on the figs as they will cook quickly.  

Remove onto serving plate.  Serve hot and enjoy!



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