Saturday, September 22, 2012
I have this thing where I impulsively buy food items, usually fruit, thinking, "Oh, I'll totally have time to bake something amazing with these this week." So I make a point to not eat said food items as part of my normal daily sustenance.
Days later, said food items are in a less than delicious looking state, certainly in no shape to be eaten as is.
And a few days after that, they're shriveled to the point of no return, unable of saving even by baking.
This happens more often than I'd like to admit, especially during the school months. It happened last week, this time with figs. And this time I got two containers of them, knowing I would bake something amaaaazing with them. Thus, I refrained from munching on them straight out of the fridge or on yogurt or oats or salad. Ya know, because I have plans for them.
A few days later, the figs are beginning to look sad and super soft. Damn. I was determined to not let these figs go to waste though, so, fig jam!
After sitting and thinking with sugar and lemon and sherry, the figs cook up into mounds of thick, figgy goodness. A million times more amazing than fig newton insides. (Although I do love a fig newton every now and again.)
Fig jam is sort of a curious thing--not at all what I usually expect in a jam but everything I never knew I wanted. Not too sweet. Beautifully fruity and earthy. Delightful on toast. Perfect with cheese or spread on a turkey sandwich. I've even contemplated it sandwiched in a vanilla bean macaron. Oh yes.
makes just over a pint
1 1/2 pounds fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
2/3 cup sugar (adjust as necessary for desired sweetness)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbsp. sherry (may substitute with water)
splash vanilla extract
In a large bowl, stir figs, sugar, zest, juice, sherry (or water), and salt to combine. Let macerate for 30-45 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large pot and set over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue to cook until mixture has thickened, 20-30 minutes.
If you like a chunkier jam, use a pastry blender or potato masher to cut up the fruit a bit. If you like a smoother jam, let mixture cool slightly then process in a food processor until desired consistency is achieved. Stir in vanilla.
Once jam has cooled to room temperature, store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.