Syka Gemista

Stuffed Dried Figs

TRADITIONALLY made on the island of Lesbos, these fragrant figs keep for a long time. They can be eaten on their own as a snack or soaked in sweet wine—preferably the famous one from the neighboring island of Samos—and used as a topping for ice cream, yogurt or custard.

This recipe is based on detailed instructions from Maria Koutsoumbis from Molyvos, on Lesbos, a cousin of New York restaurateur John Livanos.


  • cups coarsely ground walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound dried Calimyrna figs, washed and allowed to dry out for 2 days at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Make a slash in the bottom of each fig and fill them with the walnut mixture, then press them closed.

Place the figs cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool completely before serving. Store in airtight containers for up to 6 months.