Friday, October 1, 2010

dig the fig

Whether fresh or dried, figs have long been prized for their promise of sweetness. Of all fruits, figs contain the most sugar, which may explain why they have been honored for centuries as aphrodisiacs and symbols of abundance, understanding, and love. Versatility is a great descriptor of this fruit, whether baked, roasted, stewed, dipped or stuffed this fruit can take many forms and pairs well with sweet or savory dishes.

I’ve been playing around with some different recipes for fig jam and have come up with a deliciously sweet preserve that uses only tender, hand-harvested fruit picked at the peak of ripeness, a touch of citrus, a spicy kick from black peppercorns and then topped off with cognac. The result is an earthy sweet jam with a bright fruit character.

This is a natural to pair with an aged sheep’s milk cheese, spread over a roasted pork loin, poured on top of ice cream or even spooned over ricotta pancakes at breakfast.

No matter which culinary vehicle you choose to serve with this fig jam, it is well worth the effort.


Drunken Fig Jam
makes 3-  ½ pints

2 lb. black mission figs, stemmed, cut into ½ inch pieces
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. black peppercorns placed in cheesecloth “purse”

Zest (yellow part only) and juice the lemon. Combine figs, zest, lemon juice, sugar, Cognac, orange juice and the “purse” of black peppercorns into a heavy large deep saucepan. Bring fig mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; continue to boil until jam thickens and is reduced by half, stirring frequently and occasionally mashing mixture to crush the larger fig pieces, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the peppercorn purse and take off the heat.

Ladle mixture into 3 ½ -pint sterilized glass canning jars, leaving ¼ -inch space at the top of the jars. Remove any air bubbles using a chopstick or skewer. Wipe jar threads and rims with a clean damp cloth. Cover with hot lids; apply screw bands. Process jars in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool jars completely, store in a cool dark place up to 1 year.

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful. We love fresh figs and have a hard time getting them into a recipe when I bring them home. But I must try and make this jam, already thinking of the recipe possibilities. Thanks so much.