I was at a party at a friend’s house recently, and she has a Desert King Fig tree that is putting out figs like crazy (that’s the same kind of fig I planted this spring). I was literally stuffing myself with figs for lunch. I think she took pity on me, or maybe she had like 5 buckets of figs and needed to unload a few. At any rate, lucky me, I went home with a dozen figs – 2 days before my neighborhood potluck!
I had these figs, but not really enough to go crazy with. Since blueberries are cheap because of a bumper crop this year, I thought I’d mix the two. I saw are a few recipes online for this, but none that really met all my pie needs. So I mished and mashed and made up a recipe that works for me. I like that there are chunks of fruit, and also some that are cooked down and saucy.
Fig Blueberry Pie
1 Pie crust (I always use this one from Cook’s Illustrated, it’s fantastic, but use whatever is your go-to crust)
Egg (for egg wash, optional)
¾ cup sugar
3 Tbsp tapioca starch or cornstarch (approximate)
4 cups washed and sorted blueberries
16 oz figs (about a dozen), washed and trimmed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Crumble Topping (adjusted from a recipe I got out of Cooking Light years ago):
½ cup flour
½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1. Preheat oven to 425. Blind bake the piecrust partially, because you’ll be baking it again once the fruit is in. To do this, first chill the crust in a pie plate, then weigh it down with pie weights on parchment and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Remove the weights, apply an egg wash if desired (1 egg mixed with a little water, for glistening brownness), and return to oven at 375 for 5 minutes. Let cool on counter while you prepare the fruit.
2. Keep the oven on at 375.
3. Take about 2/3 of the blueberries and cook with sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the starch bit by bit, to get the thickness you want. Stir gently and regularly until it is bubbly (about 12 minutes). You want it to be thick but not as thick as jam. It will thicken a little more before serving, too. Cool a bit, like 20 minutes, just so that it isn’t hot when you pour it into the crust.
4. Peel the figs, if desired. (I did because these Desert King figs have a thick and slightly bitter skin). Slice into quarters, and place in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining blueberries.
5. Add the cooked blueberries to the raw fruit. Fold gently to mix.
6. Prepare the topping: mix everything but butter together using a whisk or fork. Add melted butter, and stir until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture is all clumpy.
7. Pour fruit into piecrust. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, and cook another 30 minutes. The filling should be bubbly and the topping browned. It may take more time than this.
8. Try to wait and let it cool completely before serving. (I almost never do. I’m impatient and warm pie is delicious, and also I tend to put off making the pie until the last minute and we have to leave the moment it’s out of the oven. Last year at Thanksgiving, I had an apple pie ooze its juices onto D’s backseat on the way to a friend’s house. Whoops!)
This was a satisfying experiment, and my neighbors enjoyed it. The tartness of the blueberries joined well with the earthy sweetness of the figs. My pie was a little too sweet, so I’ve reduced the sugar here. Also, the looseness of the filling meant it was more of a crumble with piecrust nearby, so I upped the starch in this recipe. But you know, just because it isn’t pretty doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty!
I can’t wait until next year (or the year after?) when I have figs of my own. Yum!