In the past few months I’ve fallen in love with figs.
Where have I been? Figs are not new. Figs have been hanging out on holiday cheese plates put together by my family for years, but I’ve never gone past the pear and blue cheese to try one. Until recently, that is. Now I understand that they’re actually little balls of the freshest, creamy jam all wrapped up in a skin that protects them, and at the same time is 100% edible. They are delicate, sweet, fresh… If you’ve had a really good fig, you’ll know what I mean.
Sadly, it’s harder to find a good fig than I thought. Sometimes if they’re not ripe enough, they just taste like… fruit. Slightly sweet, but that’s about it. I had faith, though, that I would get a chance to have a good fig again, as all my favourite food blogs are telling me that it’s fig season. After biding my time, I went in to Whole Foods yesterday and lo and behold they had cute little baskets of organic mission figs and samples to ensure that I knew what I was getting! They were of course delightful, so I bought a basket. My plan? Make fig jam.
Earlier in the day yesterday I had seen a tantalizing post on “Dessert for Two” with a recipe for a whiskey fig jam cocktail. Well. That just confirmed that I not only needed to buy more figs, but I needed to make fig jam. Immediately. Yes, I could use it in this cocktail, but I could also crack it open over thanksgiving when the after-dinner cheese plate came out and the goat’s cheese was looking a little lonely. Or maybe serve it over baked brie. Or eat it in the morning on my toast with crunchy peanut butter. The possibilities were endless. I needed to make fig jam, and it needed to be that night.
Unfortunately, as many of you may know, I tend to over-book my evenings. I ended up getting home at about 10:30pm last night, but that wasn’t about to stop me. I did some research, and decided to use a combination of two different recipes. One from the Kitchn, Quick Recipe: Mission Fig Jam, and another from Bon Appetit, Drunken Fig Jam. As I was planning to use this jam in a cocktail, I figured that I didn’t need to add more booze than necessary (also, who readily has brandy or cognac in their bar?) so I took that out. I also added some spices as the cocktail recipe from Dessert for Two mentioned that her fig jam had been spiced and, well, that just sounded delicious. I also drastically reduced the quantity as I don’t have proper canning supplies. Also, figs are expensive.
Late Night Fig Jam
Adapted from Bon Appetit and the Kitchn
– About 22 fresh mission figs
– 1 cup of water
– 3/4 cup of sugar (recipe called for 1 cup, but I feel it’s still a bit sweet, so I think 3/4 cup would be better)
– 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
– 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
– 1 cinnamon stick
1. Wash and quarter figs.
2. Bring to boil in a saucepan with water, sugar, lemon juice, ginger and cinnamon stick.
3. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
4. After an hour, the contents should have a deep, burgundy colour and most of the figs should be broken down.
5. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
6. Transfer to food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Apparently this recipe lasts in the fridge for a week. A week?! What is that about? Don’t we all open jam, use it once, and then let it sit in the fridge for a few weeks until we use it again? Is that just me? Regardless, I will be doing exactly that with this jam. I’ll let you know how it holds up. As I mentioned, I plan on it lasting until thanksgiving.
The verdict: It’s delicious. I’m so glad I added the spices! It has such a rich, autumnal flavour. Yes, it’s a bit sweeter than I would have liked, but with 3/4 cups of sugar instead of 1, it should allow the natural sweetness of the figs to come through more on their own. I took some of the jam this morning and mixed it with some balsamic, olive oil and pepper and can’t wait to have it on my salad at lunch (with goat cheese, of course). The only downside to making this recipe was that for the entire time I had “now bring us a figgy puuuudding…” stuck in my head, then just the whole song. Does a figgy pudding have figs in it? It must. I’ll research that now. Maybe another recipe to add to the queue!