If you’re blessed with your own backyard fig tree, you never have this problem.
But for those of us who are left with buying fresh figs at the market or through grocery delivery services these days, figs can be a bit confounding. You want them squishy-ripe so they’re at their sweetest — yet that’s also when they’re prone to go moldy in a flash. If you happen to find yourself with ones that are not soft at all, you wait with bated breath, checking them each day, in hopes that they will finally yield to the push of a fingertip.
But you realize soon enough that’s all in vain because figs actually don’t ripen much once they are picked. And if they are picked too early, forget about it.
However, less than ideal figs can be salvaged by baking or roasting them. Their natural sugars, no matter how modest, will exude and caramelize in the heat of an oven, rendering them enjoyable after all.
That’s what prompted me to bake a batch of “Ricotta and Olive Oil Muffins with Figs.”
This wonderful recipe more than rescued my less-than-perfect figs. It’s from the cookbook, “365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking” (Prestel, 2019) by James Beard Award-winning Meike Peters, a food writer who splits her time between Berlin and Malta.Read more