Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese – Recipe for Roasted Sweet Figs with Tangy Goat Cheese and Date Honey
I love autumn for many reasons. The leaves are turning, the air is crisp, and many of my favorite fruits and vegetables are in season. One of the most elegant of all fall fruits is the fig. This sweet and succulent fruit has a rich and dramatic history stretching back to Biblical days and beyond. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are said to have covered their nudity with fig leaves. Figs are one of the “Seven Species” of Israel referred to in Deuteronomy. They are also mentioned in the sensual Song of Solomon:
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
– (Song of Solomon 2:13)
The fruit is in season twice per year; in Israel, the summer season is historically marked by the time between the first and second fig harvests.
We all know figs as fruit, but you might be surprised to learn that the fig is actually a flower inverted onto itself. The interior seeds are the actual “fruit”– the fig itself is the flower. It is likely that the fig first grew in southern Arabia; archaeologists have found evidence suggesting that the Assyrians and Sumerians knew figs and incorporated them into their diets. Those figs were likely wild; the fruit wasn’t cultivated until ancient farmers grew them in Mesopotamia.
This Stuffed Figs and Goat Cheese recipe combines a few ancient ingredients into one sweet and savory treat. In Biblical times figs were picked straight from the tree, ripe and succulent. Cheese was made from the milk of goats that roamed the Judean hills. Dates were harvested from palm trees and enjoyed for their natural sweetness. Combine these three ingredients and you get one delicious appetizer, beautifully representative of the “Land of Milk and Honey.”
I have to warn you, these figs are addicting. I served them at a dinner gathering recently and they were a big hit. They’re all natural and gluten free. Enjoy!
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Beauty shots and styling by Bethany Nauert.
Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese
- 12 fresh figs
- 4 oz soft goat cheese for vegetarian use cheese with a vegetarian rennet
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup date syrup (you may substitute honey)
Purchase or make a batch of date syrup, also known as date honey or silan, in advance of this recipe for best flavor. Alternatively you may substitute regular honey. Preheat oven to broil. Trim off stems of figs and cut an "X" in the top of each fig 1/3 way through. Place the figs on a greased, parchment or silpat-lined sheet tray. If they are a little wobbly, you can shave a bit off the bottoms of the figs so they stand upright.
Place goat cheese in a plastic or piping bag and massage with warm hands until softened. Cut a tip off one of the bottom corners of the bag and pipe the cheese into each fig, dividing your 4 oz. cheese evenly between the 12 figs.
Lightly brush the figs with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper.
Broil the figs for about 4 minutes or until you can see little brown bits on the goat cheese. Date honey or regular honey should be gently warmed in a small saucepan at this point, it should be easily pourable and warm but not hot.
Remove figs from oven and drizzle with warm date honey.
Serve warm or at room temperature.