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from the kitchen: Warm California Fig and Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup

a piece of cake on a plate

Celebrating for season. Because fig season is so limited, we make the jam for the filling with dried figs. In season, we use fresh figs. 

Warm California Fig and Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup
Makes one 9 x 12-inch crisp. 


  • 2 cups walnut halves  
  • 6 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar  
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar  
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt  
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  
  • 4 1/2 cups flour  
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, thinly sliced  
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract  
  • 3 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, grind the walnuts (until medium-fine) with the 6 tablespoons granulated sugar and set aside. In an electric mixer, mix the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour until well combine. Add the butter and mix until the mixture clumps, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg yolks to the mixture and mix for 40 seconds. Pack two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch ungreased pan and bake until the dough is light brown, 25-30 minutes.


  • 2 1/2 pounds Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California  Figs   
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar  
  • Zest of 3 lemons, grated  
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied with twine  
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

To make the jam, in a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the figs, sugar, lemon zest, thyme, and lemon juice and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and summer until the figs are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the thyme. Puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth.

To assemble the crisp, spread the jam evenly over the baked dough. In a bowl, crumble together the remaining third of the dough and the walnut and sugar mixture. Sprinkle the mixture over the fig jam and bake for 50 minutes.

Fig Syrup: 

  • 5 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice California Mission Figs, stems removed, figs sliced  
  • 4 cups (750 ml bottle) ruby port  
  • 1 cinnamon stick  
  • 1 clove  
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Heat the figs, port, cinnamon stick, and clove in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce to 1/2 cup. Strain the sauce, pressing on the figs to get as much juice as possible. Whisk in the sugar and cool.

To serve
Drizzle with Fig Syrup. Add a scoop of your favorite gelato and serve while still warm.