Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.
I was reminded of this last night when I was staring at a basket of some big beautiful ripe figs that I had picked in my little garden. I had about 20 figs on hand and knew that if I didn’t do something with them right away I’d risk losing them.
Seeking inspiration, I hunted through some of my favorite cookbooks. I pulled Patricia Wells, Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, and many others off the shelf. I considered fig clafouti, fig tartlets, grilled figs, figs stewed with rhubarb and even a fig and arugula salad. That being said, I also considered my energy level and realized I was too dang exhausted to tackle any of those recipes. As great as they looked, I decided to really keep it simple and just go with my instincts.
So, rather than gather a ton of ingredients, I simply sliced the stems off of about 15 figs, quartered them and placed them in my favorite Le Creuset Dutch oven. I grabbed a measuring cup and sprinkled 2/3 cup sugar over the quartered figs and simmered over moderate heat.
The whole process probably took about 15 to 20 minutes at the most and resulted in a dark and luscious fig jam that surpasses any I’ve bought in the store. When the jam cooled to lukewarm, I grabbed a multigrain cracker and some Cambozola. I then dolloped the warm oozy jam over the cheese and cracker. It was superb and, most likely, very bad for my waistline! (And, yes, it was my dinner!)
My 15 figs yielded a large jar of jam that is now stashed in the fridge. I don’t think it will last very long…
So, if you find yourself with some gorgeous figs, try this super simple fig jam!
Easiest (and Best!) Fig Jam
15 very ripe large figs
2/3 cup sugar
Slice the top stem off the figs and quarter. Put the quartered figs in a large Dutch oven. Sprinkle the sugar over the figs and turn on the stove to moderately high.
Watch the figs, stirring, as they heat up. They will start to soften and release a lot of juice. Stir again and lower the heat to moderate.
Get the mixture bubbling and stir intermittently. Stay close to the range at this point to avoid burning.
The figs will start to break up and the mixture will change color and thicken as the fig pulp breaks down. Keep stirring because the fig skin will resist breaking down.
After a few more minutes of simmering, stirring and mashing, the fig skin will succumb and break down, making the whole mixture turn a darker color, closer to the color of the Fig Newton filling!
At this point, I only simmered and stirred for a minute or two longer. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and transfer to a jam jar.
Store in fridge and serve with cheese and crackers or on savory paninis.