Fig and Rosemary Focaccia


We recently planted a fig tree in our backyard. I’m really, really hoping it thrives. A freshly picked fig straight off the tree is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I braved a swarm of mosquitoes for a pint of figs from a tree growing wild on the side of the street. (This was during my poor grad school days in North Carolina.) They were totally worth the bites.


There was a recent article in the New York Times about all the fig trees growing in Brooklyn. I figure, if all those New Yorkers can do it, why not me? My mother-in-law had a fig tree growing at her previous house, so she is giving us lots of tips. Hopefully in a few years, I’ll be enjoying tree-ripened figs again.


This recipe makes an extremely large batch of bread. I’ve taken it to parties, where there was no problem of it being eaten. At home with just the three of us, it’s another issue. I have a few strategies for using it all up during its brief shelf life. First, I trimmed off the edges and gave them to Tyler, because he loves munching on “crunchy bread.” Second, I gave a sizable chunk away to neighbors. Second, we used it for sandwiches – prosciutto, arugula, and goat cheese was my favorite kind. Last, I cut up the sections with no figs and cubed them for croutons (mostly from the borders of the focaccia.)  One of these days, I’ll find a recipe I like that makes a smaller loaf.


loosely adapted from Gourmet, February 2000

Fig and Rosemary Focaccia

Fig and Rosemary Focaccia


3 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 oz each, not rapid rise)
2 ¼ c warm water
⅓ c olive oil, plus more for coating bowl and baking pan
7 c all purpose flour
1 Tbs salt
2 ½ Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb ripe figs
Coarse salt for sprinkling (sea salt, fleur de sel, etc.)


  1. Pour yeast in the bottom of a free-stand mixing bowl. Whisk in water and let stand for 5 minutes. Give yeast a stir to make sure all of it is melted. Place flour and salt in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Pour half of the flour mixture into the bowl with the yeast. Add 2 Tbs of the rosemary. Set aside the remaining rosemary.
  2. Using a dough hook, mix on low. Gradually add the rest of the flour mixture and turn speed up to medium. Knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is soft and a little sticky. Pour some olive oil into the bottom of a large bowl. Swirl oil around the sides. Using floured hands, remove dough from mixing bowl into olive oil-coated bowl. Flip dough over so both sides get oiled. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Coat an 11x17” baking pan with olive oil. Gently press dough into the pan. It’s okay if it doesn’t fill in all the corners. Lightly mist the top of the dough with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 30 minutes until roughly doubled in size again. Meanwhile, trim the stems off the figs and cut figs in half lengthwise.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  5. Once dough has risen, stud the top with the halved figs, cut side up. Gently push the figs into the surface of the dough. Sprinkle reserved rosemary and coarse salt over the top of the dough. Bake in oven until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Sweet Comments:

  1. I love figs, and this bread looks so delicious- brilliant idea to use for sandwiches. One of the things I like least about apartment living is that I can’t plant trees or garden as much. As soon as I can, I am growing my own fig tree

  2. Ok so you’ve tackled two fears of mine in one post. Fear #1 yeast and I are not friends and I cannot make bread. and the second isn’t really a fear more of something I’ve never cooked with… FIGS! When I get back from vacation I must buy some and cook! Let’s have a bread making date, please.

  3. Katie,

    Sure thing! Have a great vacation.

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