Cardamom and Brandy Poached Figs

Cardamom and Brandy Poached Figs is a simple, luxurious fresh fruit dessert that takes just minutes to put together ~ it’s the perfect light ending to a summer meal!

Photo of cardamom and brandy poached figs topped with whipped cream in a bowl with a spoon.

I’ve got two fig recipes lined up for this week because this is it, high fig season, and you need to grab them while you can. Green  black, brown, it doesn’t matter, they’re all awesome. Figs are delicate creatures and that’s part of their charm. They don’t keep or travel well so stores only carry them right at the height of their short season. Fresh figs aren’t anything like the dried version, and they are a world away from Fig Newtons, which I’m embarrassed to say is the main way I knew them most of my life. The fresh fruit has a lush berry like quality — but probably the biggest draw is its unique and complex texture: a mix of soft chewy flesh, smooth skin, and tiny crunchy seeds. Don’t let them pass you by.

Photo of a bowl of figs against a dark wood background, with three figs in front of the bowl.

This recipe comes from our friend James. James’ mother is from Turkey and his dad is from southern Russia and he’s full of fascinating recipes from both cultures. He made this fresh healthy dessert for us when he came over the other night to teach me how to make his mothers version of borscht. That’s coming up in a future post but I didn’t want to wait on the figs. If you can’t find them at your regular store, check Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

Photo of figs for cardamom and brandy poached figs in a white pan, with a jar of whipped cream and some more figs in the background.

Figs are a traditional dessert all over the Mediterranean, but especially in the Middle East, where they originated. They are so naturally sweet and luscious that they require very little fooling with. James says they’re often served lightly poached  like this, along with Turkish Coffee after dinner.

Side view photo of cardamom and brandy poached figs in a white pan on the stove.

This is less a recipe and more a figgy free for all. There are any number of ways you can do this, including ditching the whole poaching idea and just shoving your (clean) finger into the top of the ripe fig to make a cavity for some freshly whipped cream, clotted cream, or creme fraiche, which is exactly what we did for our second helping.

Photo of cardamom and brandy poached figs in a white pan.

3 from 2 votes

Cardamom and Brandy Poached Figs

Author Sue Moran


  • 6 - 8 fresh figs any variety will do as long as they're ripe
  • 6 green cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
  • sprinkling of ground cardamom for garnish


  • With a sharp paring knife, cut off the stem of the figs, and make a cross cut at the top of each, about an inch deep. Gently nudge the figs open a bit with your fingers.
  • Set the figs in a small saute pan and add the crushed cardamom pods, 1/4 cup water, and 1 Tbsp brandy. (The water should be about 1/4 inch high in the pan) Bring to a simmer and simmer the figs for about 5 minutes, constantly basting the figs with the liquid. Make sure you spoon the poaching liquid down over the open figs. Remove the figs to a shallow bowl or plate.
  • Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla. The easiest way to do this is to put it all in a clean jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously for a couple of minutes. When you hear the 'sloshing' noise stop, it's whipped.
  • Pry open the figs a bit with your fingers and spoon a dollop of whipped cream into each one. Sprinkle lightly with cardamom.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Don’t forget to pin these Cardamom and Brandy Poached Figs!

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Check out these other delicious fig recipes to make good use of your ripe figs!

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  • Reply
    angel food cake
    August 17, 2013 at 1:22 pm

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  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    August 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    delightful and dainty yet rich and delicious with the cardamon flavors and brandy! Amazing

  • Reply
    August 13, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I have been totally negligent with figs this year and I think it’s time to make up for that! Love how simple these are. The perfect fig-a-licious bite.

  • Reply
    Denise @ magnoliaverandah
    August 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I was fotunate to inherit a fig tree when we purchased our house. The tree is at least 30 years old.It is a constant battle between the birds and I as to who gets to the figs first. Last year was a terrible year, with only one small crop – hopefully this one will be better . Fig jam is just my favourite.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Cardamom and brandy sound just perfect with figs!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Oh my – this is lovely and sounds wonderful. I have missed the fig boat all together. Every time I see them in the store, they are usually a mussy mess 🙁 I will keep looking and hopefully be able to make these one day. Beautiful dish Sue!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    these look divine

  • Reply
    August 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Well we love figs..and eat them while we can..I enjoy this sounds delish.

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