Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Quick Fig Jam (With or Without Cocoa)

If you've been baking up a storm (or buying up a storm) there are probably a few Christmas breads (stolen, pannettone, St. Lucia buns) around for your morning toast. While I'd never refuse an additional pat of butter on a piece of toast, this fig jam is one of my holiday favourites.

Lately, I've seen fig and cocoa jam for sale. I'm not the sort of person that has nine dollars to fork over for a tiny jar of jam, so I tried adding a tablespoon of dark cocoa to my fig jam recipe and it was delicious. A squirt of orange juice (or orange blossom water if you have it) is nice with fig if you don't like cocoa, but it is also darn good with just the bit of lemon juice in the recipe. Even if you add orange, don't omit the lemon as it has enough pectin to help the jam set.

I made giant coconut washboard cookies today (they are for a dear friend that really likes coconut) and I'm thinking the jam would be damn near mind blowing spread on them. It would be on the large side for a sandwich cookie, but hey-if you don't do extravagant baked goods at Christmas, when do you?

The recipe will make about a pint. Store it in the fridge, though you could preserve it in a water bath canner (fifteen minutes ought to do it). Depending on the type of fig you use, it may be necessary to soak, the figs in warm water, then cut and scrape out the pulp with a spoon. California figs have softer skins than the imported "rope" (though they haven't come on an actual rope in years) type. If the skins are nice, and pliable, by all means chop them up and use them-otherwise, set aside half an hour for scraping. I have not tried this with Mission figs, as I don't like them.

Figs are a luxury item for us, but I can't imagine Christmas without them.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups chopped, dried figs (soaked and chopped or scraped for pulp)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional tablespoon of cocoa powder.

Place everything in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. It should take about five minutes to boil and thicken. Remove to a jar. Let cool, then cap, and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 pint.

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