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How to Make Spicy Fig & Pistachio Tapenade with Cream Cheese

Dried Figs - CookingWithKimberly.comOn so many occasions during the Holidays, you need some fabulous, quick, go-to recipes that can save you from not being prepared when an unexpected guest, and their family, show up at your door step to spread Holiday cheer…

…Instead of panic setting in, wondering if you have anything to present to these friends or family to eat & drink that’s lovely…Afterall, you weren’t expecting them.

No problem. This is a safety-net appetizer or hors d’oeuvres that can impress, and make them feel like you had it prepared just for them.

Ever look at those dried figs in your pantry and wonder what the heck you’re going to do with them…not interested in making Fig Newtons? LOL…

This Spicy Fig & Pistachio Tapenade with Cream Cheese is easy to make, as long as you have prepared ahead and soaked your figs. Within a few minutes, you can have a gorgeous treat that will likely also be a topic of conversation because it tastes so darn good.

This recipe is also perfect for bringing to someone’s home or gathering over the Holidays. You’ll look like a champion when you say, “Oh, I just whipped this up before I came.” 😉

How Mediterranean of you! 🙂

This recipe will be presented at The Women in Finance Event at Casablanca Winery Inn in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada on November 8th, 2012. Want to register? Click here!

Type: Hors D’Oeuvres
Prep Time: overnight to soak figs + 8 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 dozen dried figs
  • ~ 2 cups Port wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 brick cream cheese

* Try adding caramelized onions, maybe 1/2 cup, to the mixture for extra deliciousness, if desired.


  1. Soak dried figs in a large mason jar with approximately 2 cups of Port wine, or enough to cover the figs overnight, up to a few days.  Also, add chili flakes, bay leaf to the jar.  * Tip: If figs soak up the Port wine a lot, you may have to pour more Port wine to be sure to cover the figs up. Be aware, though, that the dried figs can float, and will trick you into thinking they don’t have enough wine.
  2. After soaking the figs overnight, take out the bay leaf from the mason jar with the figs.  Using a food processor, add figs, wine, olive oil and spices, being sure to take out the bay leaf from the mixture before processing.
  3. Stir in chopped pistachio nuts, if desired, and taste test.  * Notice: I did not have salt as an ingredient because I used salted pistachio nuts and didn’t need any extra, but when you taste test, you’ll be able to tell if you should add some salt or not to adjust the seasonings.
  4. Pour mixture over a brick of cream cheese to serve with crackers or crostini.
  5. Store in refrigerator.


I hope you enjoy this Holiday Recipe on Cooking with Kimberly. Until next time…

Eat Deliciously!

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Author: Kimberly Turner

Kimberly Turner is the web-chef behind CookingWithKimberly.com. Food writer, food consultant and general lover of the delicious treats on our planet, Kimberly brings you hearty content, delicious offerings, fun antics, and some down-home cooked love with her mom making cameos. Internet entrepreneur and marketer, International model, and Editor-in-Chief of a number of online publications. Be a Champion in Your Kitchen & Eat Deliciously!

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