Dulce de higos (fig preserves in syrup)

The last week has been all about family. And soccer. And no, I haven’t sat around watching three different soccer games a day, except for the weekend. 🙂 But there’s at least one match a day that HAS TO be seen and, when time allows, up to three. In between we have played games, cooked together, gone to the park, watched movies… and soccer.

I also managed to cook a batch of fig preserves. This desert, known as dulce de higos is very popular here in Ecuador. Amazingly, this is the very first time I make it. And it apparently turned out good because I earned everyone’s approval. So I thought I’d share the recipe here. The ingredients are very simple. What is unusual is that it involves a three-day process!


20-25 fresh figs, washed (they should be ripe, but firm)

Pinch of baking soda

1½ lb panela (whole cane sugar)

3-4 large cinnamon sticks

5-6 whole cloves



1. Make a crosswise cut on the top side of each fig.

2. Place the figs in a bowl, cover them with water and let them soak for 24 hours.

3. Rinse the figs, place them in a saucepan, and cover them with water.

4. Add the baking soda and bring the water to a boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until soft.

5. Remove from heat and let the figs soak in the water they cooked in for another 24 hours.

6. Drain the water. Gently squeeze each fig to remove as much water as possible.

7. Place the panela  and the spices in a large saucepan, cover with about 6 cups of water and cook on low heat until the panela is completely dissolved.

8. Add the figs and simmer until the panela syrup begins to thicken. This could take 1½ to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can cook them in a crock pot on low for 4-5 hours.

9. Serve either warm or cold with a slice of cheese. We serve it with what is known as queso fresco, but you can serve it with whatever cheese you prefer.

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