Gruyere, Apple, and Fig Jam Panini

Fall is Granny Smith season over at my parent’s house; their trees are so heavy with apples my father has to prop up the branches with long two by fours to keep them from breaking. We also are blessed with a bounty of figs from the fig tree, with which my mother often makes a particularly wonderful fig jam (an easy recipe that cooks up in about 15 minutes, I recommend it!). So when I saw this recipe for an apple and gruyere grilled cheese panini with fig jam in my friend Kathy Strahs’ fabulous new cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. It’s sort of a no-brainer actually. Granny Smith apples, gruyere cheese, figs? They belong together. I just never would have thought to put them together in a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh. My. Gosh. Crazy good!

I know that not everyone one has a panini press. In fact, the only reason I have one is that a friend regifted one to me knowing that I like to experiment in the kitchen. You could just as easily make this sandwich like a regular grilled cheese sandwich (for which I prefer using a cast iron pan). Or, if you happen to have a George Forman grill, that would work too!

Gruyere, Apple, and Fig Jam Panini Recipe

  • Prep time: 6 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches.

Dense bread, like bread from a rustic bakery loaf, holds together best in a panini press.



  • 2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature to make it easy to spread
  • 4 slices rustic whole-grain bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf
  • 2 Tbsp fig jam
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced


1 Heat the panini press to medium-high heat. (Or if not using a panini press, preheat a cast iron frying pan on medium high heat.)

2 For each sandwich, spread butter on two slices of bread. Turn the slices over and spread a layer of fig jam on the other side of each slice. To one slice add a layer of sliced cheese, several apple slices, and a layer of more cheese. Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up.

gruyere-apple-fig-jam-panini-1 gruyere-apple-fig-jam-panini-2

3 Place up to two panini at a time in the preheated panini maker, and close the lid closed. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. (Or if making a grilled cheese sandwich instead of a panini, place in heated cast iron pan, cook until one side is browned, use a metal spatula, carefully flip the sandwich over and toast on the other side until the cheese is melted. You may need to lower the heat on the pan to allow enough time for the cheese to melt without burning the bread.)

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Recipe from The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs, Harvard Common Press 2013. Re-published here with permission of author.


  1. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Mmm fig jam and (various flavours of) cheese is such an awesome pair! I can’t wait to try them together in a sandwich!!

  2. Lisa

    Just when I thought I’d never find a use for that luscious jar of fig jam in my pantry….

  3. Lisa Ginns

    Looks wonderful! I do a similar version using bleu cheese, pear and fig jam on crusty bread.

  4. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    Apples, figs and cheese, what could be better? Nothing beats freshly harvested fall apples!

  5. Kathy - Panini Happy

    I’m so glad you liked it, Elise!!

  6. Trish

    I think I’m about to dust off the George Foreman :)

  7. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig

    Next time I see you, remind me to tell you the acronym for fig jam….he-he. Love ya!

  8. Liya ~ Culinary Connection

    Looks great! Thanks for the recipe for fig jam too! That’ll come in handy! Wondering how slightly cooked apples would taste. Hmm… maybe i’ll intersplice cooked granny smiths w/ uncooked ones just to see how it tastes. Like the idea of cooked apple and fig w/ gruyere but don’t want to miss out on the crunch factor.

  9. Sues

    What a fabulous looking panini! So many things I love! Kathy is the best :)

  10. Becki's Whole Life

    What a great twist on grilled cheese – particularly for fall! I think using a good bread – like the nice thick loaf from a good bakery is key to making a GC extra special. Love this recipe!

  11. Sandy S

    Elise, thanks so much for your recent posts! I shared the spicy orange fig jam recipe with my father, as I remembered his mother had a fig bush growing by their Baton Rouge kitchen window. He told me of blocks of ice being delivered by carts pulled by teams of 6 little mules and cars with batteries as big as a kitchen table! Can’t wait to see what tasting your wonderful Panini will remind him of!?!

  12. Marie

    I love grilled cheese sandwiches, and this one looks divine.

  13. Debbie

    This looks delicious. I love the combination of flavors. I have a favorite restaurant in Phoenix that serves bruschetta and they use a combination of ingredients like this. Now I look forward to trying this recipe. Thanks Elise. I also pinned this one.

  14. Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste

    This looks fantastic, Elise! What a killer combo indeed. Love Kathy’s new book!

  15. Rachel @ Bakerita

    All the recipes from Kathy’s book look phenomenal, and this one is no exception! I’m kicking myself for forgetting my panini press at home so I can’t make all these lovely paninis at school! Yours looks beyond delicious.

  16. beth

    what’s hilarious to me, looking at the recipe again this morning, is how i completely misread it. got home last night and had a grilled cheese – with balsamic fig jam, cheddar, and pear. :) quite tasty, and thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Katie H.

    We don’t have a panini press and also like using a cast iron pan, but what I’ve found really improves any grilled cheese is weighting the sandwich with whatever you’ve got- another, smaller cast iron, a bacon press, or when we grill our grilled cheeses in the summer, a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. For some reason, smooshing the sandwich makes it better.

  18. momofnine

    This sounds like such a “fallish” panini. Can’t wait to try it with hardy homemade bread and apples from our old orchard. Thank you!

  19. Jayne

    Oh yes! I just remembered about my brie. Have got to make this with the last of my fig jam soon. Thanks for reminding me about it!

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