Watermelon Pizza with Balsamic Fig Glaze

Get ready for your next favorite summer appetizer: watermelon pizza with balsamic fig glaze.

Is there anything more essential to summer than cool, crisp slices of watermelon? They’re juicy and just what you want to eat for a healthy dessert… but if you’ve ever tried a sprinkle of salt on watermelon, you know how it amplifies the sweet fruity flavor. We’ve got a fun way to bring a whole watermelon to the table differently as an appetizer: watermelon pizza! Top each slice with feta cheese crumbles, fresh oregano leaves (or use shredded fresh basil / mint leaves), and crunchy Maldon salt, but what makes these slices sizzle is the balsamic fig glaze made of California Figs. You’ll find this glaze to be just about perfect for drizzling on a wheel of Brie, to serve on a cheese board, or even to drizzle on grilled meat.

Watermelon Pizza with Balsamic Fig Glaze

Course Appetizer
Servings 36 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Mission Figs
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (10-pound) watermelon
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, (3.5 ounces)
  • Oregano leaves
  • Maldon flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. To make balsamic fig glaze: stem and mince the figs. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan. Stir in the figs and sugar. Turn the heat onto medium high and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool for 10 minutes.

  2. Slice the watermelon into six 1-inch rounds. Cut each watermelon round into six wedges.

  3. Drizzle the balsamic fig glaze over the slices and sprinkle on feta, oregano, and Maldon salt.

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld

California Fig Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

Make a chocolate ice cream cake for adults and kids alike with California Figs and chocolate fudge cake.

Do you remember how sweltering summers, you cooled off with ice cream cake as a kid? Our chocolate ice cream cake brings together chocolate fudge cake, topped with a vanilla no-churn ice cream swirled with jam made of California Figs and the final layer of white chocolate. This is a cake for chocolate lovers and a fun dessert for summer celebrations!

California Fig Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

Course Dessert
Calories 960 kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Fudge Cake

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

California Fig Jam

  • 1 (7-8 ounce) package Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Dried Figs, stems removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 3 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Fig jam
  • Chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs

White Chocolate Topping

  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

Make the chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Set up a double boiler (bain-marie) by filling a sauce pot with 1-inch of water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Place heat safe bowl over pot, making sure bowl does not touch water. Add chopped chocolate, sugar, and butter to bowl. Gently melt together, stirring often to ensure even melting. Once mixture is smooth, remove bowl from double boiler and allow to cool for 8 minutes.

  3. Add eggs, one at a time, to cooled chocolate mixture. Whisk until each egg is thoroughly incorporated.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips to cooled chocolate mixture. Fold to combine until there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.

  5. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes until center of cake no longer jiggles. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a mini offset spatula or dull knife around the edges of cake pan to unmold. Allow to cool to room temperature on wire rack.

Make California Dried Fig Jam:

  1. Combine figs, water, and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil, allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes until figs are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and let mixture cool for

  2. Transfer mixture and lemon juice to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.

  3. Transfer jam to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use. Jam will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Make Vanilla Ice Cream and Assembly:

  1. Line the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch round spring form pan with plastic wrap. Place a 9-inch cake board (or round cardboard base cut to fit) inside pan. Place cooled chocolate cake in the center of cake board. Set aside.

  2. Whip chilled heavy cream to soft peaks. Add in condensed milk and vanilla. Continue to whip to stiff peaks.

  3. Spoon one-half of the vanilla ice cream mixture into the prepared spring form pan, filling the empty space around chocolate cake to cover the cake entirely. Add one half of fig jam in dollops on top of ice cream. Use a knife, toothpick, or chopstick to swirl jam into ice cream. Sprinkle chopped figs on top.

  4. Add the rest of the vanilla ice cream followed by fig jam swirl and chopped figs, layering on top until spring form pan is full.

  5. Cover ice cream cake with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight.

  6. Unmold ice cream cake from spring form pan and remove all plastic wrap. Set aside.

  7. Make white chocolate topping: in a small bowl, combine white chocolate chips and coconut oil. Gently melt in the microwave at 10-second intervals at half power until smooth and melted. Stir after each interval.

  8. Pour and spread white chocolate mixture on the top of ice cream cake, allowing excess to drip off the sides of the cake. Work quickly to sprinkle additional chopped figs on top, as desired--white chocolate will harden immediately.

  9. Allow ice cream cake to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

To Serve:

  1. Dip knife in warm water. Wipe off moisture and cut into ice cream cake. The heat from the knife should melt through the white chocolate creating a clean slice. It may take a little effort to cut through the chocolate cake.

  2. Store any leftover slices covered (preferably in an airtight container) in the freezer for up to one week.

Recipe and photo by Maryanne Cabrera

White Chocolate Fig Ice Cream

Making California Fig ice cream is as simple as using this white chocolate ice cream recipe by chocolate expert (and fig fan), Alice Medrich.

Summers are meant for ice cream. We love dark chocolate with mission figs, but have you ever tried white chocolate with golden figs? The idea of a rich chocolatey fig ice cream was too irresistible not to pursue, so we enlisted the expertise of Alice Medrich for a white chocolate ice cream recipe with spiced candied figs studding each spoonful. If you like the combination of white chocolate with California Figs, then this fig bar cookies recipe will easily win you over. Or, while you’re at it, we’ve got more Alice Medrich recipes including the best rugelach recipe and don’t miss how to make fig squares–this is a favorite Alice Medrich recipe of ours! But don’t take our word for it, pick up some California dried figs to make something sweet.  

White Chocolate Fig Ice Cream

Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Ice Cream Base

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) white chocolate (not baking chips), coarsely chopped

For Spiced Figs

  • 1 cup (6 ounces) lightly packed, Sun-Maid California Calimyrna Dried Figs, stemmed, chopped into ¼ to ½-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

EQUIPMENT

  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Ice cream machine

Instructions

Make the ice cream base:

  1. Set the strainer over a medium bowl near the stove for the finished ice cream base.

  2. In a 2-3 quart saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, honey, and salt until blended. Whisk in the milk and cream. Wash the whisk (with soap and water) and set it aside.

  3. Cook the mixture on medium heat (lowering the heat as the mixture approaches temperature), stirring constantly with a heatproof silicon spatula, sweeping the bottom, corners, and sides of the pan constantly to avoid scorching, until the mixture registers 178-180 F on an instant-read thermometer.

  4. Immediately scrape the mixture into the strainer set over the bowl. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

  5. Put the white chocolate into a small bowl. Ladle about 1 cup of the warm ice cream base over the chocolate and leave it for a minute to soften the chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the remaining ice cream base and whisk to blend. Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Make the spiced candied figs:

  1. While the base is cooling. Combine the figs, water, honey, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently at first and constantly at the end, until the liquid is completely reduced and the mixture resembles thick, sticky, chunky jam. Scrape into a bowl. Let cool and then refrigerate until needed.

Finish the white chocolate ice cream recipe:

  1. Freeze the ice cream according to the instruction on your machine. Scrape the finished ice cream into a container, alternating it with the figs. Fold the ice cream with figs together briefly. Cover the fig ice cream container and freeze until firm enough to scoop or until needed.

White Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe & Spiced Figs by Alice Medrich
Photo by Annelies Zijderveld

 

Chopped Israeli Salad with Figs

A chopped Israeli salad will be your new favorite kind of salad to eat during the summer and beyond. Dressed simply and tossed with a tumble of fresh herbs, we love how plump mission figs add a touch of sweetness to this salad with snappy flavors. The salad is a bit like a Greek salad but with fresh mint, oregano, and parsley. If you can get your hands on Greek block feta, cube it to make this Israeli salad with feta as you’ll get well-balanced bites of cheese, vegetables, figs and herbs. If you’re vegetarian, you can make this side dish a main dish by adding in drained and rinsed cannellini beans or chickpeas, or even try compressing tofu to serve on top. For omnivores, grill some kebabs or salmon to serve alongside for a meal that doesn’t require turning on the oven (and is great at picnics or potlucks).

Chopped Israeli Salad with Figs is one tasty summer salad tumbled with fresh herbs and mission figs.

Chopped Israeli Salad with Figs

Course Salad
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 diced Persian cucumbers (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 (7 oz) bag Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
  • 1 (5 oz) block feta cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 sprig oregano leaves, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
  • 20 sprigs Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped (6 tablespoons)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drip the olive oil in a thin stream into the vinegar, whisking the whole time until emulsified.

  2. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, mission dried figs, feta, scallion, mint, oregano, and parsley into a large bowl. Gently toss in the dressing. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld