Cast Iron

Fresh Fig Cornbread

August 27, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Makes 1, 9-inch round cornbread
Author Notes

I love cornbread for breakfast. A little sweet, tender, toothy, and nubbly. I think it's just perfect with a cup of coffee. Add fresh fruit and you've really got yourself a morning treat. I found some beautiful fresh figs at our market the day I was baking cornbread, and I couldn't resist halving them and dotting my bread with them. Cornbread is, of course, the very tastiest fresh out of the oven, but this one keeps quite well if you wrap it, and it toasts up nicely. I like it plain, but it's also really, really good with a scoop of ricotta. —fiveandspice

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, just softened, and cut into chunks (plus extra for greasing the pan)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk (I prefer the flavor from buttermilk)
  • 8 ounces fresh figs, stemmed and halved
  1. Heat your oven to 375F. Grease a 9-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. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cornmeal.
  3. 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 milk/buttermilk, and starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christina Dorr
    Christina Dorr
  • Ausra
  • HalfPint
  • thirschfeld
  • fiveandspice

24 Reviews

CTF149 October 14, 2023
I never thought of adding figs to cornbread, but this was delicious. If you are looking for something more like cornbread as a side dish, I would drastically reduce the sugar. If you are looking for a dessert, this makes for a tasty and unusual cake, it was quite sweet. My 10” cast-iron pan was just right and made for crispy brown edges. My figs also sunk like several other reviewers. I will definitely make this again, but will reduce the sugar by half and try baking it a short while before adding the figs.
culinarygardener October 16, 2022
This is one of the best cornbreads I have ever eaten or made in my life. The figs, the figs, the figs........ just added such incredible elements of flavor and texture ! It's a perfect recipe!
Wiferoni September 7, 2021
Way to much for a 9 inch pan. Dripped everywhere and smoked up the place. No worries though. Will try some later after it is done. I'm from Pennsylvania and we like our cornbread on the sweet side. Plus, with the sweet figs, it makes more sense to incorporate sugar into the batter. I sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top as well. Can hardly wait to try some. Call it smoked fig corncake?
TheresaCapri August 31, 2021
I made this today-halved the recipe and used an 8 inch cast iron pan. I did a different method because I like to use shortcuts and it worked great. Just melted the butter and mixed all the wet ingredients into the already mixed up dry ingredients. I used med grind cornmeal, not course ground. I added a little vanilla because I try to limit my extra sugar (I put 1 TBSP instead of the 1/3 for a half recipe). I put about 16 oz of figs on though...just used 6 halved figs and they didn't sink at all like some of the others mentioned. I did preheat the pan in the oven with some butter before adding the batter. Cooked about 30 min, until toothpick came out clean. I would make this again. Thanks for the recipe.
bizzylizzy July 18, 2020
I made this today and I was very pleased with the way it turned out! I read the reviews first and was a little worried about which pan to use. Ultimately used a 10" round Calaphan skillet which turned out to be perfect size. And despite the fact the sugar/butter curdled and the figs sunk a little - it still looks good & the flavor is great. I agree the fig flavor is much better cooked. Thanks for a great recipe!
Votingwithmydollar August 22, 2014
I have two different kinds of figs in my backyard, and they were extremely generous this year: i have canned figs, fig butter, fig conserve, fig jam, and bags of frozen whole figs. My daughter sent this recipe to me, so I made it today with the last of the fresh figs. Wonderful! I followed the recipe exactly, used my cast iron "fried chicken" skillet (deep sides, 9")' probably baked it 55 minutes. After brief cooling, it slipped right out, and I tested it about 20 minutes later. Delicious. Thanks for posting this one! (pretty and tall enough, I took pictures!)
Douglas B. June 17, 2014
absolut delish ! I sliced the figs into thin coins and they sank. next time I will add them after 20 minutes of baking !! Super YUM !!!
Christina D. March 16, 2014
I made it with blackberries instead of figs on top. Turned out great.
Ausra September 20, 2013
I made it; 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 the 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;
fiveandspice September 23, 2013
Hmm. I'm pretty sure my skillet is 9 inches, though I'm not totally certain because it doesn't say, and I haven't measured it. It has pretty tall sides though. I've had several people say their figs sank too, and I really have no idea why mine didn't. I didn't do anything special. It's a mystery! But the more figs the merrier. :)
rachelsunday September 19, 2013
We made this for dessert last night using figs from a neighbors tree and served the wedges of cake with big dollops of creme fraiche on top. It was DIVINE!! My guests oohed and ahhed over the results. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe (and for today's perfect leftover breakfast)!
fiveandspice September 23, 2013
Mmmm. Creme fraiche would be perfect!
anstmc September 8, 2013
Boy, howdy, I have never had so many folks jump me for expressing my opinion!! And the great cornbread debate continues. In my defense, when I read the recipe, I thought "can't wait to try this"! I write a food column for a very small Mississippi town and love to expose my readers to different foods and ideas. I love fresh figs so much and I do love a good iron skillet with my cornbread and its crispy crust (caused by using good old bacon grease). I do intend to try the recipe with not-so-fresh figs that I have frozen. You could put fig preserves on saddle oxfords and they'd taste great!
fiveandspice September 23, 2013
HalfPint September 5, 2013
My fig tree is overflowing right now and I thank you for yet another recipe for fresh figs. I can only eat so many in a day and I can only make so much fig jam.
fiveandspice September 7, 2013
You're welcome!
anstmc September 5, 2013
Being a girl reared in the deep, deep south and who has access to fresh figs every summer from her own backyard, this seems a waste of perfectly good figs. Real, sure 'nuff, authentic cornbread has little or no sugar at all. Otherwise, we are talking about cake. Good idea, but I think I'll pass on this one....
thirschfeld September 5, 2013
Why, bless your heart, I used to be the same way. Couldn't get my head wrapped around things outside of my own box. Then one day I started to try things that didn't always make food sense to me and sure 'nuff once I started trying them there was a whole world of good food to which I had been missing out.
fiveandspice September 5, 2013
Lucky you having a fig tree in your back yard! I can see how you might feel that way having access to such fresh figs! Though - and here I'm going to admit something that proves I'm probably a little messed up in the head - even when I've had super fresh figs, I've found I like their flavor better when cooked as opposed to uncooked. And baking is certainly a good way to use less than optimal figs. As far as the great cornbread debate, I love how worked up people get about their cornbread style! I don't take sides because I absolutely love crisp on the edges baked in a hot skillet almost no sugar style cornbread, and I also love fluffier, cake-ier, gently sweet cornbread. I was just thinking the other day though how it's funny that the people who seem to get the most voluble about what a cornbread should be are the Southerners versus the New Englanders, and here we are in the Midwest kind of keeping our opinions to ourselves, when actually this is where most of the corn comes from these days. So, maybe one of these days there will be a Midwestern uprising to declare a new perspective on what cornbread should be! ;)
HalfPint September 5, 2013
@anstmc, why not try out the recipe before you write it off completely. If it helps, just call this a "cake".
sscook September 1, 2013
I am going to make substituting my Italian plums for dinner to go with grilled fresh salmon and a fresh tomato pesto salad from the garden. I like to mix it up.
fiveandspice September 5, 2013
thirschfeld August 28, 2013
I am so making this. I have a bunch of figs I need to use. Perfect timing!
fiveandspice August 28, 2013
Hope you like it! We had it for breakfast 4 or 5 days in a row and loved every single day of it. :)