fig cornbread slice 1

Just so you know the extent of my crazy, I wasn’t joking a couple weeks ago when I mentioned that I had made a list of all the breakfasts that I wanted to eat, at least the ones I could think of off the top of my head.  It’s about four pages long.

This cornbread comes courtesy of the list…except it kind of doesn’t.  On my, what do I even call it?  A breakfast to-do list?  That makes it sound tedious.  Let’s go with breakfast inspiration list.  On my breakfast inspiration list, this was listed as ‘blueberry oven pancake.’  And a puffy, pillowy blueberry oven pancake is definitely a good idea, in my opinion.  But, when I was getting ready to make it, I noticed a half-used container of buttermilk in the refrigerator, and that made me want cornbread instead.

fig cornbread whole 1

I love cornbread at breakfast.  I like that nubbliness in the morning.  Plus, depending on how you make it, it can be a delicious vehicle for eggs or for tons of butter and some honey, both of which are awfully tasty ways to start your day.  Anyhow, the plan morphed from blueberry oven pancake to blueberry cornbread, which is also definitely a good idea in my opinion.  But then I remembered the figs.

This area is about as far from a fig-growing region as you can possibly imagine, unless maybe you visualize Iceland or the actual North Pole (which doesn’t have any land anyway).  But, on occasion you can get fresh figs at the market.  Obviously they’ve been shipped, so they aren’t perfectly fresh, so I often find I don’t want them straight-up raw, but oh boy are they delicious when gently cooked or baked.  And the season when we can get them is so short, it sort of starts to feel like it makes sense to put them in anything you can think of.

fig cornbread whole 2

fig cornbread slice 2

And I thought of cornbread.  Lightly sweet, tender, dare I say a little bit cake-like (I know that is often an insult when applied to cornbread, but I mean it as a compliment here, an indicator of the moistness and tenderness of the crumb.  That is to say, this bread reminds me of a much less sweet version of a rustic polenta cake – and who could resist the sound of polenta cake?!), and absolutely packed with glistening, juicy, flower-sweet figs.

So, cornbread with fresh figs it was.  Baked in a cast iron skillet to give it crisped mahogany edges.  I’ll admit I didn’t preheat the skillet with butter because I knew that would make me panic as soon as I put the batter in and I wouldn’t do a good job of putting the figs on top.  But, even without the preheated pan, the edges crusted up beautifully while the rest of the cake stayed moist.  The soft sweetness of the figs is wonderful with the heartier flavor of the corn.  The combination becomes especially amazing if you spoon some ricotta onto your slice, though it’s quite amazing enough just by itself or with a thin smear of butter.

We feasted on it and the toasted leftovers of it for breakfast for days, and now that it’s completely eaten, I’m already dreaming of another.  Though maybe I should make that oven pancake first.  (p.s. If cornbread for breakfast isn’t your thing, I think this would also be an amazing side dish with pork chops or pork tenderloin.)

fig cornbread slice 3

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh fig cornbread
Serves: one 9-inch round bread
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, barely softened and cut into chunks, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups milk or buttermilk (buttermilk is preferable, in my opinion!)
  • 8 oz. fresh figs, stemmed and halved
  1. Heat your oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet or another heavy baking pan with butter.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cornmeal.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, and starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  5. Scrape the batter into the greased pan, then arrange the halved figs on top. Bake until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
  6. Serve warm, with spoonfuls of ricotta, if desired. The cornbread keeps, tightly covered, for several days. Just lightly toast slices in a toaster oven before serving and you’re good to go.


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33 Responses to Fresh fig cornbread

  1. Lisa Mitchell says:

    How could warm fig cornbread with dollops of ricotta not be everyone’s “thing” for breakfast – maybe for every breakfast? This looks just brilliant. I saw figs advertised in my local grocery flyer this morning – now I know what I’ll do with them!

  2. Gillian Thornton says:

    Going to try this scrumptious sounding recipe. I live in Spain on a small holding and we have 200 fig trees and this year is a bumper crop.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Oh yes, I want a giant slice of this for my breakfast tomorrow.

  4. Sophie says:

    Wowww Emily! This is far and away the prettiest and most tempting dish in my feed today. I’m changing around my weekend menu plans to make room for it, absolutely. I’m going to share with my mother and my next-door neighbor (suddenly I am very emotional that my husband begins a swing shift schedule on Sunday for the forseeable future and who in the world am I going to cook for?!). Sounds so so delicious! And so gorgeous. Some of your very best!

  5. daisy says:

    OMG! This is just so beautiful and I bet it tastes just as good. I just made something similar with apricots, but I don’t think my family will mind eating something like it so soon at all!



  6. Elise says:

    Perfect timing. My sweetie brought home some figs yesterday. Can’t wait to try this. & I too love cornbread for breadfast, with a little butter & orange marmalade

  7. This looks heavenly – the texture of the cornbread looks absolutely perfect, definitely my kind of breakfast. And I am a complete list-maker too! I have a huge breakfast “inspiration” list – no joke. A kindred spirit at last!

  8. So glad to have found this! I have fresh figs that I need to use before leaving town tomorrow. Will definitely be whipping up a batch of your cornbread today.

  9. This looks amazing and delicious. It’s been sitting in my inbox since yesterday morning, tempting me as I try to find time to read the post. Stunning. If I can get my hands on some Brooklyn figs, I might just need to try it.

  10. I love cornbread and love the idea of combining it with figs. I’ve got some fresh figs I just picked up yesterday, and have buttermilk in the fridge. It looks like a beautiful breakfast 🙂

  11. Sarah says:

    I know what you mean about barely sweet cakes for breakfast. I’ve been making pancake cakes lately (whip of a batch of batter, pour into greased pan, and bake) and I made a buckwheat/whole wheat pancake cake with cinnamon and perfectly ripe peaches pressed into it last night. It was delicious with a little maple syrup drizzled on top and floated in lots of milk (dairy farmer style!).

    I’m not a huge fan of figs, but now I want to try your similar (and better looking! It’s hard to make the grey-brown of buckwheat look appetizing) cornbread cake!

  12. Emnic80 says:

    Fortuitous that I saw this on Pinterest at the very moment I was contemplating what to do with some fresh but miserable looking figs in my fridge. I just made it, and I can tell you that it is delicious. The figs are no longer miserable and it was delicious with some sheeps cheese feta. Being an Englishman I haven’t had much contact with cornbreads, but I am definitely a convert. Fantastic blog, really happy I found it!

  13. Sophie says:

    I wish mine had turned out as pretty as yours! The figs sank — first, just below the surface, but by the time we cut into the cake it appeared they were actually settled on the bottom. No matter as it was completely delicious — I fed my parents and myself this alongside mushroom and kale omelets with a good salty cheese. Even the leftover cornbread was declared delicious by my husband the next day. Thank you! Next time I might add the figs in after par-baking just a touch…. do you think that might help? (This is undoubtedly the prettiest thing you’ve ever baked!)

    • Emily says:

      Firstly, thank you! And I’m glad you liked it. And your breakfast sounds awesome! Secondly, that’s so funny that all your figs sank. Mine didn’t even seem to have the slightest inclination to sink. I had to kind of push them in. I can’t think what would have caused the difference. Unless you put yours cut side down? That could make a difference. I’ve also been noticing that the climate here is so dry, sometimes recipes I make here, the batter or dough seems a lot thicker than when I’ve made it elsewhere, which could maybe cause it. I should think par baking it a bit could help. It’s certainly worth a shot.

  14. Hope says:

    I finally got around to making this this morning. It seemed like a nice break from my usual cornmeal and figs breakfast at this time of the year — polenta with figs and maybe some walnuts. Naturally, I couldn’t resist tinkering and threw some anise seeds in to the batter. I highly recommend it.

    For the record, about half my figs sank, the ones closer to the middle, even though they were cut side up. It was just fine really. The ones that sank got all custardy. You will hear no complaints from me.

  15. Amanda says:

    I just made this and it is so darn good

  16. Elise says:

    I’ve already made this twice 🙂

  17. Ausra says:

    Hi, Emily, I made this; it was delicious; it seems like 9″ pan is way too small for the amount given in the recipe; I baked mine in 10″ skillet, and it still has overflown and dripped all over the oven; figs all sank to the bottom; towards the end of baking I pushed in a few more, just to have them sit on top of the bread, like in your photo; so I ended up having almost twice the amount of figs, the bread was nice and tall, and it was delicious; I’ve been having it for breakfast, as recommended, with a scoop of ricotta; thanks for the recipe; will make it again, perhaps in the 12″ skillet;

  18. […] Fresh fig cornbread ( […]

  19. Your photos are gorgeous, and I absolutely love that you added figs to cornbread! Sounds so good. Once I find some figs, I’ll be trying it!

  20. That loooks stunning. Love how the figs look all caramelised and sticky.

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