Recipe: Glorious Figs!

My first fig was plucked from a tree in the conservatory that was attached to my cousin’s home in Wiltshire. I was 9 yrs old; it was warm from the sun and I’ve never forgotten it.

Even the memorable 24 hour after-effects of gobbling a dozen or so unwashed, dusty figs stolen from a roadside tree in Ibiza didn’t dampen my passion.

I recently read that figs were voted America’s least favorite fruit by who-the-heck-knows-or-why…maybe they’d only experienced syrup of figs or fig newtons; anyway I’ve been waiting for them to come into season over here so I might do them justice and put them up there where they belong.

Figs are wonderful eaten alone but I imagine most people don’t want to just pass around a basket of figs for dessert any more than they would do so with a box of strawbs, so here are two easy and deliciously different ways of serving figs…

Notes at the end:

BLOG, Figs poached in cardamom, orange and rosewaterFRESH FIGS POACHED in a CARDAMOM, ORANGE & ROSEWATER SYRUP

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

8 fat ripe figs, gently rinsed and patted dry

8 oz / 250g of fine white sugar

½ pt / 300ml of cold water

The juice and finely shredded zest of one large orange

6 cardamom pods, lightly cracked open to expose the seeds

1 teaspoon of rose water

Action:

Combine the sugar, water, cardamom pods, orange juice and zest in a medium pan. Stir constantly over moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved then bring to a boil.

Carefully add the figs, stalk uppermost and reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Fold a piece of baking parchment to fit and rest gently on top of the figs to stop them moving around.

Simmer the figs for 8 minutes or until they begin to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish.

Continue to simmer the syrup for another 7-8 minutes to reduce it slightly then turn off the heat and stir in the rose water.

Pour the syrup over the figs and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Serve at room temperature or chilled; allow 2 figs per person with a good dollop of plain Greek-style yoghurt and syrup poured over.

And here’s a personal favorite……

BLOG grilled figs with goat cheese, honey and thyme 005FRESH FIGS GRILLED with GOAT CHEESE, HONEY & THYME

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

8 fat ripe figs, gently rinsed and patted dry

8 teaspoons of soft mild goat cheese such as Montrachet, at room temp

4 teaspoons of runny honey

A few sprigs of fresh thyme (not dried)

Lemon for squeezing

Action:

Pre-heat the oven broiler and set the rack about halfway down.

Line a shallow baking pan with foil to catch the juices.

Snip the stalks off the figs and carefully cut an ‘X’ from the top to about halfway down, then gently press the base of each fig with both thumbs and forefingers, until they open up like a flower.

Stuff each fig with a teaspoon of goat cheese and place them close together on the foil in the baking pan.

Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the figs then drizzle each fig with ½ teaspoon of clear honey.

Finally, give them all a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and place under the broiler – not too close; middle shelf.

Broil for 5-8 minutes – you need the cheese to be bubbly and starting to brown on top and for the figs to soften and release their pretty pink juices. Keep an eye on them, checking after 4-5 minutes or until they look like the picture.

Transfer figs and their juices to a serving plate(s); drizzle the juices over the top. Cool slightly and allow 2 figs per person, making sure everyone gets some of the juice as well.

All you need is a small fork and spoon!

Notes:

The ingredients in the second recipe would also work if made like the apricot tart recipe from a few weeks ago. Pre-heat the oven and roll out the puff pastry following those instructions. Snip off the stalks and quarter the figs. Pack them close together cut sides up – crumble goat cheese over the figs allowing 1 teaspoon per fig. Scatter with a few thyme leaves, drizzle with honey, a squeeze of lemon juice and bake accordingly.

Or you might omit everything above except the puff pastry and figs – instead, throw some fresh raspberries and flaked almonds over them and sprinkle liberally with sugar before baking. Play around with sweet and savory ingredients as figs are pretty versatile.

Costco currently has trays of California figs right now so make the most of them because as with fava beans (aka broad beans), the season here is short.

Costco also sells wonderful soft fresh goat cheese that’s about a quarter of the price of anything in the supermarket. It keeps well in the fridge.

Avoid using dried thyme – it will be too strong and medicinal tasting.

Rose water is available in Asian supermarkets and many good stores such as Wholefoods.

About edibletcetera

I'm a passionate foodie who cooks, photographs, eats - then writes about it; an occasional restaurant critic; former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
This entry was posted in Desserts, Gluten Free Desserts, Vegan. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Recipe: Glorious Figs!

  1. Dianne Lynn says:

    Thanks for the inspiration Jackie! I LOVE figs …. and you are right … most folks don’t know what to do with them. I will experiment with your ideas with the goat cheese. Thanks, also, for telling us where to purchase the ingredients. I was wondering where the heck does one find rose water? Wholefoods … I should have known!!!

    • etiquettetcetera says:

      You’re welcome! Rose water is sold in Middle-Eastern as well as Asian Indian stores. Make sure it’s the edible variety as opposed to the stuff you’d use as a facial freshener……

  2. Pingback: Cheese, Please! – a challenge for September | The Garden Deli

  3. Pingback: Let’s round up those recipes – September’s Cheese, Please! | The Garden Deli

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s