Oven dried figs

Fichi secchi al forno 
There is nothing like oven dried figs made with fragrant bay leaves, fennel, orange and lemon zest.

In our modest Italian garden we have at least six fig trees carrying loads of fruit several times a year, and although it may sound conceited you do eventually tire of fig marmalade, fig chutney, fig sauce, poached figs, caramelized figs and fresh figs with gorgonzola, mascarpone and prosciutto. Luckily, own neighbour is a skilled puglian housewife, so instead of letting ripe figs litter the ground (- and attract swarms of flies and ants), she picks them from the trees and leaves them on a mat covered in cloth  to soak up the sun for a couple of days, before drying them in the oven. In this way she supplies her own family including the households of six grown up children, numerous cousins and my family with a store of figs that lasts throughout the year.

The dried figs can be eaten as candy or soaked in boiling water and used for cakes, bread, sauce and fruity side-dishes.

Ingredients
1 kg fresh figs
6 bay leaves
Peel of ½ lemon
Peel of ½ orange
2 tbsp wild fennel seeds

Preparation
Wash the figs and leave them to drip off on a clean kitchen towel.
Turn on the oven at 80 C (180 F).
Spread the figs out on a sheet of baking paper along with slices of lemon and orange peel and let everything dry in the for about half an hour. When the figs have shrunken and attained a nice grey-brown or blackish colour depending on the type of figs used, they are finished. It normally takes about 30 minutes. Don’t leave them too long, or they will bake and become stone hard.
When cooled, place the dried figs is a glass jar with the bay leaves, fennel seeds and dried lemon and orange peel.
Party figs can be prepared by slicing the oven dried figs open and stuffing them with a blanched almond.

More on produce from our Italian garden than oven dried figs

The sweet aspirations of a figtree

Grow pomegranates – a tree of myth and fairytales

Growing almonds in Puglia

Oven dried figs

15 replies
  1. Phyllis Pragliola
    Phyllis Pragliola says:

    Sounds simple enough, will try it for the 1st time. I love dried figs and they are expensive to purchase around the holidays.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      True, and they preserve wonderfully well. If they turn out to be too dry when the holidays come around, you can just dip or soak them in boiling water (with a drop of liquor if you like) before eating.

      Reply
    • Mette
      Mette says:

      If properly dried they will last forever – but you probably shouldn’t keep them more than 6 months. I’ve had some oven dried figs that are considerably older, but once they have been soaked or boiled in syrup and used in cakes, nobody can tell.

      Reply
    • Mette
      Mette says:

      Btw. you have to make sure not to seal any damp or hot air in the jar with the oven dried figs, so leave off the lid for the first couple of days.

      Reply
  2. Janet Manuel
    Janet Manuel says:

    Other sites call for much longer oven time…several hours. Some of these recipes also have a little higher temp setting.

    Reply
    • Janet
      Janet says:

      Yet you say longer cooking will harden them. Mine don’t look at all dried after 30 min. and I wonder what to do

      Reply
  3. Janet
    Janet says:

    What should they look like after 30 min.
    They are past that now and don’t look at all dried, yet I’m afraid to cook them longer. Help!

    Reply
  4. Janet
    Janet says:

    I followed your directions and these figs are not nearly dried. Other recipes call for 8 hours in the oven. How can you possibly say 30 minutes or even slightly more will dry the figs. Orange and lemon peels yes…figs, no. Please reply.

    Reply
  5. Janet
    Janet says:

    I followed your directions and these figs are not nearly dried. Other recipes call for 8 hours in the oven. How can you possibly say 30 minutes or even slightly more will dry the figs. Orange and lemon peels yes…figs, no. Please reply.
    You didn’t reply to my first request

    Reply
    • Mette
      Mette says:

      I’m sorry, I did not get back to you in time. If the figs don’t look dry, they should of course be given more time in the oven. I guess, it all depends on the type of fig you are using and their degree of maturity. The figs used here are brown, when harvested in October on Salento. They are placed on a special mat, covered in cloth and left to dry in the sun for a few days, before the dehydration is finished in the oven. Apart from the normal figs, we have a couple of trees producing fiorone, which are green fig-like fruits. These are normally ripe in June and through out summer.

      Reply
  6. Steve Davis
    Steve Davis says:

    i live in N. California and have a green Kadota fig tree with 2.5 ln. diameter figs. I am trying to sun dry them without much seccess. Flys,it is impossible to keep them out!I suspect it is the same all over the world. I guess they just blanch them and redry after the sun drying. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Mette
      Mette says:

      I’d help them along in the oven first, and then sun dry the rest of the moisture out. In my experience, the flies lose interest once the surface of the fruit has dried.

      Reply

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