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Fig Bars with Thyme

Laurie Smith

Yield: Yields twenty-five 1-1/2-inch squares.

This fig jam keeps for weeks, so if you like, make it well ahead of time. Try to use lemon thyme, if possible. These bars are good with a dollop of whipped cream.


For the pastry:

  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) walnuts
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the jam:

  • 2 lb. very ripe figs, stems removed, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 to 8 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. lemon juice; more or less to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1 1/2-inch square bar
  • Calories (kcal) : 140
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 50
  • Fat (g): 5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 20
  • Sodium (mg): 90
  • Carbohydrates (g): 23
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 2


To make the pastry

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, grind the walnuts with 2 Tbs. of the sugar until fine; remove and set aside. Put the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup white sugar, the brown sugar, salt, and baking powder in the food processor; process until blended. Add the butter; process until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and pulse until mixture is wet and clumping, about 40 seconds (it won’t form a ball). Pack two-thirds of the dough into an ungreased 8×8-inch baking dish; set aside the other third. Bake until the dough is lightly browned and keeps a slight indentation when you press it lightly, about 30 minutes.

To make the jam

  • While the crust is baking, coarsely chop the figs. Put them in a nonreactive skillet with the sugar and thyme and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices have reduced and the fruit is tender and thick, about 20 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the lemon zest, add the lemon juice to taste, and set aside. If not using right away, refrigerate in a closed container.

To assemble the fig bars

  • In a mixing bowl, crumble together the remaining dough with the reserved walnut and sugar mixture. Gently spread the fig jam on top of the baked crust and sprinkle the dough mixture over the filling. The top will look crumbly. Bake until browned on top, about 40 minutes. Cool completely before you cut into bars 1-1/2 inches square.


Rate or Review

Reviews (5 reviews)

  • user-7490182 | 08/20/2021

    Absolutely wonderful recipe! Not too sweet like most desserts and the thyme elevates this recipe from average to exceptional. I used a mini cast iron skillet and made it more like a crumb dessert. Topping with a dollop of whipped cream but some dense French vanilla ice cream would be a great pairing too.

  • MJPaq | 09/10/2015

    Was given 2# of fresh figs and wasn't sure what to do with them. Had to make GF/DF adaptations - still turned out great.[ 1/2 cup gluten free flour and 1 cup almond meal in place of all purpose flour. 4 oz Earth Balance in place of butter]

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