Old-fashioned Fig Meringue Pie

A hundred years ago, fresh fruit was scarce during the long winter months, so pies were often made using dried fruit.  I found a wonderful recipe for a Fig Meringue Pie in a 1919 cookbook. The delectable fig filling is topped with a creamy meringue.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Recipes for Everyday by Janet McKenzie Hill (1919)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fig Meringue Pie

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

12 ounces dried figs

1 1/2 cups water

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons sugar + 4 tablespoons sugar + a small amount of additional sugar

dash salt

1 8-inch (small) baked pie crust

Remove stems from figs, then chop. (There should be approximately 2 1/2 cups of chopped figs.) Put chopped figs in a saucepan, add water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 325° F. Place egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a bowl; beat together. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot fig mixture into bowl with beaten egg mixture, stir quickly to prevent eggs from coagulating. Then put this mixture in the saucepan with the cooked figs while stirring. Return to heat (medium), and cook until the mixture thickens while stirring continuously.  Pour into a pie shell which had been previously baked.

In a separate bowl make the meringue. Place egg whites in the bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add 4 tablespoons sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

55 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Fig Meringue Pie

    1. My sense is that meringue pies were much more popular a hundred years ago than what they are now. I see quite a few recipes for them in old cookbooks.

    1. Yes, it’s very similar. The filling is tasty, but filling. (Oh dear, I used the word “filling” in two ways in that sentence. Hopefully it made sense.). I cut this pie into fairly small pieces.

    1. It sounds absolutely wonderful to have several fig trees. A couple years ago, while on vacation, we stayed at a house with a fig tree. It was the first time, I’d ever seen a fig tree; and, it was real treat to be able to go out each morning and eat several figs.

  1. I can’t imagine what a fig pie would tastes like. The only figs I ever encountered was in the delightful cookie ‘Fig Newtons’. I bet your pie was a unique flavor and a tasty treat. 😀

    1. It’s delicious. Some really tasty dried fruit recipes have been largely lost as we shift to using fresh fruit year round. A hundred years ago dried fruits were more commonly used in pies (especially during the winter months) than what they are today due to the transportation challenges of shipping fresh fruits long distances.

  2. I’m gonna have to try out this recipe when the figs ripen this summer. I dry some figs for cookie filling,never thought to try pie. Love figs fresh or dried!

    1. I hadn’t either until I saw it in a 1919 cookbook. My husband and I liked the pie when I made it. It makes me wonder why some foods lose their popularity over the years.

      1. I bet that was a treat to eat. I bet it would be quite delicious. Figs are so sweet. Did it have the seeds? That’s a good point about some foods losing popularity. I am kind of curious as to why they do as well.

  3. When i was a child my Mom used to make lemon meringue pies every Saturday. I can bring the smell forward from my memories. I’ve never heard of fig meringue pie but I do love figs. Seems like a great combination.

    1. It’s nice to hear that this post brought back some warm memories. You have a wonderful way with words. I love the phrase, “I can bring the smell forward from my memories.”

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