Grilled Figs With Homemade Lavender Crème Fraîche

Beth Kirby of Local Milk carries her Southern heritage -- and the ingredients, dishes, and recipes that come with it -- with her wherever she goes. Every other Monday, that place is here. 

Today: Grilled figs that are waiting to be your next dessert -- plus the best crème fraîche you'll ever taste.

Grilled Figs from Food52  

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This is how I start fig season: I go to the market and buy a bag of green figs with rosy tips, figs the size of tennis balls from “the oldest fig tree in Chickamauga.” I take them home and stand at the kitchen island alternately dunking my fingers in sorghum and taking juicy bites of fig while singing "Figgy, Figgy, Figgy can’t you see…sometimes your ways just hypnotize me." And that’s a true story -- because I love figs. From that first bag on, I buy them every week anywhere I can find them.

Maybe I’m an enthusiast because, despite abundant fig trees in Tennessee, the only fig I knew as a child was a Newton. So fresh figs are still a bit of a revelation. As the season progresses, I get a little bit more free-wheeling with my figs; I become sated and willing to venture out in the world of cooking with them (as opposed to the world of serenading them and eating them straight out of the bag). 

Grilled Figs from Food52

And that’s where hickory chips, my Weber, a mason jar of homemade lavender crème fraîche, and some haphazard drizzles of dark wildflower honey come in. I first got the hankering to make homemade crème fraîche when reading about it on Phyllis’ blog Dash and Bella. I never knew how simple it was. You just set a jar of heavy cream and buttermilk at a 2:1 ratio on your windowsill, uncovered. And you let it sit. And funk up. And stir it. And taste it. You do this for about two days, and when it’s as thick and tangy as you please, you stick it in your fridge…and voilà!

Since I’m sort of an infusion junkie and happened upon a large bouquet of dried lavender this Sunday market past, I figured why not let some lavender hang out during the thickening process. And I’m so glad I did. Once you strain it, add some good honey (I go with a local dark wildflower variety), and whip it -- you'll have the perfect topping, the perfect honor, for luscious, smoky grilled figs. Or fresh figs. Or fig pie. Pretty much fig anything. Finish with a drizzle more of honey, and try to resist skipping the fork and digging right in, finger licking and all, like I do.

 Grilled Figs from Food52

Grilled Figs with Homemade Lavender Crème Fraîche

Serves 2 to 4

For Lavender Crème Fraîche:

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
2 tablespoons dark wildflower honey or other dark honey

For Grilled Figs:

1 pint fresh, ripe figs, halved lengthwise
Olive oil, for brushing
Dark wildflower honey or other dark honey, for drizzling
1 small bag hickory, cherry, or applewood chips

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Beth Kirby  

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Leia
  • Scribbles
  • JadeTree
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
A Southern writer with a cast iron skillet & a camera. Freelance food writer & photographer. Blogs at


Leia August 29, 2013
We have 9 fig trees and all are different in taste. We have frozen figs and are now de-hydrating figs for sale and future use. This weekend will be a marathon of fig jam. Everyone should have their own fig tree-they are so delicious. And fig cake is to die for!!
Scribbles August 28, 2013
I love figs! am searching for them in WNC with no joy....
JadeTree August 20, 2013
Wow - this reminds me of David Olney's Fig Salad with mint-infused thick cream.
Phyllis G. August 19, 2013
oh my god i love it
Beth K. August 19, 2013
an honor : )
Kenzi W. August 19, 2013
I'm not sure yet, but this crème fraîche may have just changed my life.
Beth K. August 19, 2013
If such a thing can be life changing, this one is. I feel special having it in my fridge. Seriously.
Rochelle B. August 19, 2013
Everything about this looks light, lovely, fresh & feminine! Can't wait to make it.
Beth K. August 19, 2013
It's lady food that's dude approved! I tested it : )