Whoops, I guess I wasn’t done posting about fresh figs. As soon the local fig season wound down a couple weeks ago, California Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs began appearing at the supermarket. I seem to always have the same brain blip about which variety I like better. I had to buy a package of each before remembering the California Black Mission figs are hands down the sweetest and juiciest. As divine as they are raw, their sweetness is magnified even more when cooked.
When baked in muffins, the heat transforms Black Mission figs into figgy little jam pockets. A few pieces on top of the batter add baked bits of caramelized fig to the equation. Hundreds of tiny fig seeds effortlessly add needed crunchy texture.
For maximum flavor, choose soft, plump figs on the brink of being overripe. They should be practically bursting at the seams.
By the way, for this recipe big plump Black Mission figs are actually preferable to petite local figs. The varieties grown in the South such as Celeste, Green Ischia, Alma, O’Rourke and even our local Brown Turkey figs are smaller and more fragile than their larger, thicker skinned cousins shipped from California. The sweet delicate flesh and gentle taste of local figs are lost when baked.
Local ginger from Red Earth Organic Farms recently started making the farmers market feel a bit more tropical. Just-picked ginger root is less harsh and more tender than the still fresh but somewhat drier knobs shipped from across the country. As wonderful as it is for baking, just picked ginger is a bit of a unicorn even for me other than a few weeks in the late summer. It’s absolutely fine to use regular fresh ginger from anywhere in the world for this recipe! When combined with sharp lemon and a hint of vanilla, sweet-tart ginger perfectly complements the warm fig flavor.
I’ve loosely adapted Joanne Chang’s invaluable fruit muffin recipe from her cookbook Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe. I changed a few things to make an earthier host batter to spotlight the figs but kept the essential idea of adding more yolks than whites so the muffins remain tender and light. The science is behind Chang on this – egg yolks add the soft richness to baked goods and whites add strength and structure.
The fragrant, jammy Lemon Ginger Fresh Fig Muffins are irresistible straight out of the oven. They also taste great the next day when the flavors have blended a bit. To extend the fresh fig season even longer, the muffins can be frozen for a few weeks. I would also highly encourage sharing these gems with like minded fig lovers.
Lemon Ginger Fresh Fig Muffins
makes 12 muffins
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (our Southern belle White Lily flour is my favorite for baked goods)
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain, yogurt (not Greek)
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 Tbs butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh figs, cut into ½“ pieces
¼ cup diced crystallized ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large bowl sift together flour, baking soda and powder, and salt,
- In medium bowl whisk together yogurt, ½ cup white sugar, brown sugar, butter, egg, egg yolk, fresh ginger, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- In small bowl combined fresh figs with candied ginger. Set aside ½ cup of mixture.
- Add yogurt batter to flour and mix with spatula until just combined. For tender muffins, mix as little as possible and try not to over mix.
- Gently fold in 1 3/4 cups figs and crystallized ginger
- Fill lined muffin almost to top. Sprinkle top of muffins with set aside 1/2 cup of fig and crystallized ginger pieces.
- Bake until top is golden brown and set, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove.