Thursday, August 26, 2010

Figs Poached in Port and Thyme Over Creamy Yogurt Cheese Plus a Fig Giveaway

(Update: August 30th 8:19 PM - With help from, a winner of the fig giveaway has been picked!
Drumroll . . . . . . . . .    Congratulations Lindsey!  And a big thank you to all of you for joining in the fun.)

Mr CC and I are eating figs these days. Fresh, juicy, oozing-figgy-syrup California figs. They are impossibly delicious.

Mostly we eat them out of hand; unadorned, as you see above.  Did you know that figs are filled with antioxidants, are free of fat, cholestrol and sodium and are an excellent source of fiber?  Yes they are.  Eat them with the skins on for optimum health benefits.

The figs you see here were sent to me by the California Fig Advisory Board, who want to give away a box of fresh California figs to a randomly selected person who leaves a comment on this post.  The lucky winner will receive beautiful fresh figs delivered direct to her/his door!

 The deadline for this giveaway is Monday, August 30th at 5:00 PM, so please leave your comment soon. And please be sure to leave a way for me to get in touch with you in case you are a winner. 

I don't have a lot of time to cook these days, so I came up with this very quick and easy fresh fig dessert.
The poached figs came together in about 45 minutes from cutting to chilling.  Allow more time for the yogurt cheese as it has to drain most of its liquid to be firm enough to stand up to the weight of the figs.  I started preparation for this dessert in the afternoon and it was ready to serve by 7 PM.

The photo for this recipe does not do the dessert justice, but I promise you the result is delicious.  Give it a try and see if you don't agree.

Figs Poached in Port and Thyme over Creamy Yogurt Cheese
Christine's original recipe
2 cups Greek-style yogurt (I used Strauss Family Creamery Plain Whole Milk Yogurt)
2 pounds fresh figs - I used 1 pound Black Mission and 1 pound green Kadota figs (about 28 figs total), cut into quarters
1/4 cup aged tawny port (I used Taylor Fladgate 20 year-old)
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the figs)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
pinch salt
To make the yogurt cheese, dampen a piece of cheesecloth large enough to hang over the sides of a large strainer.
Line the strainer with the cheesecloth and set it over a large measuring cup or bowl.
Spoon the yogurt into the cheesecloth and place the whole thing into the fridge for several hours.
When the liquid has drained from the yogurt, you should have about half the amount of yogurt you started with. Keep cold until ready to use.
To prepare the figs, place the quartered figs, sugar, thyme, Port and salt in a medium saucepan, stir and heat until just bubbling.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook over a heat diffusor for about 15 minutes or until the fruit is cooked through and a nicely thick syrup has formed.
Adjust the sugar to taste, remove from the heat, allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a large glass measuring cup and place in the fridge to cool until thoroughly chilled.
To serve, place a spoonful or two of yogurt cheese into a glass dish and top with the poached figs.

More figgy recipes coming soon!

Cook's Notes:
Vanilla sugar may be made by placing a split vanilla bean in a jar of baker's sugar (superfine), closing the lid, giving it a shake, and storing it until you need it. I leave the bean in the sugar until all the sugar is all used up; for me, that can be a year or more.

Copyright © 2005-2010, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Oh man, I wait eagerly for fig season every year. I, too, usually eat them as-is far too quickly to ever cook with them, but this sounds delicious and the thyme sounds like a super interesting addition. Thanks!

  2. I love figs! email at Thanks for the great blog.

  3. I really like figs.
    We had a fig tree, but sadly It didn't survive this winter.
    I always make fig jam or figs preserved in Port
    I will try your recipe.
    till next time.

  4. A fig giveaway sounds pretty fun. I hope I win!

  5. I just had my first fresh fig this morning, delicious!!! I'd love to get my hands on some more!

  6. yum, sounds delicious. Think I'll run to the store and buy some figs. (Wish I had a tree) Diane (

  7. I love figs for the potassium they have. On the east coast they have to be used quickly because of the freshness.

  8. I fall in love with figs all over again every fall. So far, I have made a fig, heirloom tomato and burrata salad, stuffed roasted figs, and Greek yogurt, fig, and honey-rosemary parfaits. I just bought another pint yesterday. See what I mean? ;)

  9. Thanks for all your comments. One lucky person is going to win a box of figs soon! I'll be putting the numbers through a numerical widget this evening and announce the winner tomorrow.
    There is still a half hour (West coast time) to leave a comment for a chance to win. Good luck!

  10. This looks good - with the Greek yogurt to add some tart. I usually find figs too sweet. We have 2 trees that produce tons!

  11. Oh,I love figs. And though they are hard to get sometimes it just makes it all the better when you find them! This dessert sounds great--love the yogurt cheese idea!

  12. What I would give to have a fig tree, Katie. I love fresh figs!

    Hi Rebecca. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the yogurt cheese is great for so many things.

  13. Always loved figs.
    Must try this out.

  14. Your description has me drooling.

    And oh, the idea to pair cardamom with plum - genius!

  15. My husband would love t his Christine! :)

  16. Hi Mary. Does he like to cook? It's an easy recipe.

    Hi Sophie. So good to see you again after all your summer bike trips. Welcome home!

  17. I love figs... but they are not available where I live. Never mind, lots of good things are, and I get to savor other favorites when I travel. You have a mouthwatering blog, Christine!

  18. Two years ago in France, we had a fig tree in the yard at our vacation rental. I loved it! I have always loved the notion of stepping outside the door and finding dinner or dessert. I made a fig and walnut dessert that was rich beyond belief. Your take on figs is much healthier, Christine.

    I have missed lingering here.


  19. looks good. congrats to the winner.



Thank you for stopping by! I will do my best to respond to your comments and questions so feel free to write to me here. Sorry for the comment moderation but it helps to keep the spammers at bay.