Monday, July 13, 2015

Fig Season is Here~Spiced Figs

Spiced figs in powdered sugar. 

I love fig season.  My fig tree doesn't produce much, but the good things if you know someone with a fig tree they are usually thrilled to share.  My friends is loaded and I have taken at least 8 gallons of figs and still you cannot tell.  

A few years ago I was in California doing an in home party.  The hostess treated me with the most wonderful fig I had ever eaten.  My mouth watered for ever thinking about them.  The Process was long, so I never did them until Thermador put a steam oven in my kitchen.  I did the figs,  they are not a good as Marsha's, but they are good and I make them every year now.  It still is a little work, and this time I tried my regular oven out to see just how they would work.  It was good.  Steam is still better, but the figs are amazing.  They are spiced figs.  The recipe is below.   The pictures just show the process.  If you can get figs, it is worth the time and effort it takes to make these.  Really not much hands on time.   Most of the time is cooking and drying.   

  I pick the figs and wash them really well.   This is a three gallon bucket.  Picking them can be sticky and maybe gloves are a good idea.  They get sticky and the white sap can irritate the skin.

This is the spicy syrup that I pour over them to cook them.  It sweetens the figs and adds spice to them.

After the figs are washed I place them in a deep baking pan.  You want a deep one because of all the moisture in them.

 I pour the sauce over the figs.  About 4 cups for each pan.

 These are the figs after I have cooked them for 4 hours in a 220 degree oven.  They are flavorful and moist.

I remove them from the sauce and place them on a pan.  The next step is to dehydrate in a 140 degree oven or dehydrator.  This goes on for about 12 hours or until they are dryer.  Not totally dry, just dryer.

Save the syrup.  You can use it  for jam or cook it down for an amazing syrup.

This is what they look like after 12 hours.  Still moist, but not juicy.  The next step is to flatten them and toss them in sugar.

Tossed in sugar.  I flatten them in the sugar with my thumb.   I then place them on parchment layered and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They keep for months and I think just get better and better.

Most good things in life take time and a little effort.  But it is always worth it.  I love food and the never ending adventure it can be.  Enjoy your adventure.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy

Spiced Figs

2 to 3 gallons fresh cleaned figs,  cut steam off.
5 cups sugar, honey, or agave or all three mixed.
3 cups water
1 large vanilla bean,  cut
1 tablespoon fennel or anise seed. whole
Star anise,  whole, chopped coarsely
6 Cardamon pods, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Star Anise
10 drops citrus oil
(You can use whatever spices you want, some don't like the licorice taste, so use something you like,  I change it around from pepper corns to nutmeg, be creative).

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil.  Place over figs in large deep pans.  Place in over and cook at 210 degrees for 4 to 6 hours.  Remove and place in large bowl, figs and liquid.  Let cool overnight or longer.  It just gets more flavor.  Remove from liquid and place figs on large flat pans and dehydrate for 12 or more hours.  You want moist, but not juicy.  Enjoy.  Chef Brad