Hello. I’m Karen and I’m a figaholic. So there it is for the world to see. I LOVE figs. I love how they taste plucked right off the tree in our backyard–slightly wrinkled, sun-warmed and so soft that the ripe inner flesh strains against the skin. At the height of flavor the thick, jammy insides conjure memories of bar cookies mingled with flower essence.
The birds apparently share my addiction, and every year we fight over who will get to the figs first. They hover. I hover. They seem to have an uncanny ability for detecting the exact moment when the fruit is perfectly ripe. I am pleased to report we seem to have arrived at a truce: they claim the bounty too high in the branches to reach, and I greedily pluck the low-hanging fruit.
My “clean-up” crew (which consists of one very gassy Labrador Retriever) stands watch underneath the tree–ready to gobble up any strays the birds or I mistakenly knock to the ground.
Last weekend I picked enough figs to make one of my favorite recipes. This versatile sauce makes a fantastic brushcetta appetizer paired with good quality blue cheese and crusty bread, or a delicious dessert topping spooned over vanilla ice cream. If you can’t choose, try both!
- Ripe figs, preferably Black Mission
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Grand Marnier Liquor
Step 1 Clean figs and slice in half. Set aside
Step 2 Place 1 cup water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat on the stove and heat until sugar melts, stirring frequently. Add cut figs and bring to a slow simmer. Continue simmering the figs as they release their juice and break into soft chunks.
Step 3 Toward the end of the reduction phase, add a splash of Grand Marnier to taste and mix. This ingredient infuses the sauce with a mild orange essence. Allow figs to reduce to a jam-like consistency (may take 40-50 minutes or more total).
Step 4 Remove from heat and cool. Place some jam in the fridge for immediate use and freeze the rest in ball jars for later.
About what amount or proportion of figs to simple syrup do you recommend?
I have made this recipe numerous times with varying amounts of figs. As a rule of thumb, I cover the base of the pan with water + about 1/8 depth. You can adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet you like the finished jam, remembering that as the ripe figs cook down they will release their own juice and are already sweet. I have used 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar depending on how many figs I was working with. It’s not an exact science, so err on the side of less as you can always add more. Just be sure to watch the figs as they reduce and add more water if need be so they don’t burn. Let me know how it comes out!
I also have a black mission fig in my yard. Can’t wait for them to ripen. Sometimes I eat them before they reach the inside of the house. I wish I had the jam recipe earlier…figs all gone. Do you know if there is a fig festival in California.
I know what you mean Ilene! I admit to eating as I pick, then on the way into the kitchen . . .they are SO good. I don’t know of a fig festival in California, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Have to do a little internet research :>)
Great Idea, Karen. I have friends who have loads of figs that all all going to waste. I will send them a link to this article. 🙂
And once they have enough to make jam, tell them to consider donating their surplus to Project Abundance–a community harvest program run by local teens that donates extra garden & farm produce to our local food bank :>)
So lucky to have a fig tree in your yard. It is such a good fruit but one not utilized enough or many folks are afraid to try them. I recently made a cake with figs for company and it went very fast. I like your recipe for the cooked sauce and never thought about using figs for an appetizer, except the prosciutto wrapped ones. Will definitely try this on my next company dinner.
Try this too Jovina: slice a whole fig (Black Mission variety)in half. Stuff with blue cheese and wrap in prosciutto. Sweet, tangy, and savory all in one bite. Yummy!!!
Yum love the blue cheese idea.