October 15, 2018

Pastries are a classic food during the fall. While the hottest temperatures of summer tend to draw eaters toward foods that are cool, refreshing and somewhat light, the change in seasons attracts many to richer and more substantial meals, snacks and desserts. This time period also aligns with the common harvesting period for figs, a versatile fruit that offers a sweet, engaging flavor.

Figs don’t keep for particularly long once they’re ripe nor after they’re harvested, but that’s not a problem for online pastry school students. They know the fig is easily turned into a variety of jams and fillings, whether by a commercial company or in their own kitchens, that provide standout components for a variety of cookies, cakes and other baked goods.

A close up of a halved fig with more figs in the background.Figs can fit into many different baked goods.

Figs fit perfectly into fall pastries

The fig may be on the upswing. Food & Wine reported Firmenich, a Swiss company that is a major player in the worlds of flavor and fragrance, called the fig the biggest flavor of the coming year in a prediction from late 2017. Although a fig mania hasn’t swept the country or world, figs receive plenty of attention when they’re in season, as well as throughout the year. Pastry arts students likely want to go beyond the basic preparations available in the cookie aisle (although a freshly made Fig Newton-style cookie can be a big crowd pleaser, both at home and in professional contexts). Let’s look at some pastry and baked good recipes that feature this familiar fruit and fit into the moods of many diners during the fall.

Ocracoke Island fig cake

Part of the Outer Banks area of North Carolina, Ocracoke features figs heavily in its local cuisine. In fact, the affinity for this fruit has blossomed into an annual festival that focuses on a wide range of foods that feature it. Carolina Country offered a classic Ocracoke Island fig cake recipe that includes a full cup of preserved figs. The cake itself is a relatively simple affair when it comes to baking and assembly, although it features a variety of flavors and provides a strong base for further variations developed by pastry chefs. Consider adding a glaze or icing, whether fig based or not, or offering a novel presentation alongside some fresh figs or fig jam.

A classic fig cookie from your own bakery

A Fig Newton offers a somewhat more sophisticated flavor than many other choices from the supermarket cookie aisle – and some Newton fans will argue they’re not cookies at all, but fruit and cake. Bon Appetit offers a recipe that allows you to bring an even fresher, more flavorful version directly to your customers or a simple assembly of friends. In search of the best presentation of the unique fig taste, Bon Appetit shared both a recipe for the crust and a homemade jam that draws on fresh figs. One important piece of advice: If you use a premade fig spread, ensure it’s thick enough to stay put within the open sides of the finished product.

A galette full of fig flavor

From Cooking Light comes a mix of fig and almond tastes that’s sure to please a variety of palettes. This dish can be prepared in bulk for foodservice settings quite easily, as it takes under two hours to finish baking and requires only about 15 minutes of hands-on work. The combination of flavors and the strong visuals of the final product means it’s just as effective when served inside your home kitchen.