Cooking with figs again this weekend. This time, little wild figs from Iran, which I picked up from a local fruit and veg shop. This batch features closed fruit, but you can also get them split, revealing their pretty pink interiors. In the dried form, they are hard – less fleshy than their larger dried counterparts. When poached, they puff up slightly and, depending on how long you poach them for, can be sultry and soft, or slightly chewy, just the way I like them, as an accompaniment to scoops of vanilla ice-cream or dollops of sweetened yogurt.
Rather puzzlingly, it’s not often you find these wild figs being utilised. In restaurants, they rarely rate a mention. So far, I’ve only seen them making guest appearances in delicious Whisk & Pin muesli. One could almost say that they’ve already had their moment in the (Persian) sun, and require no further trumpeting of their virtues. Oh well, more for me, I say.
Here I have poached the figs following a Chez Panisse recipe. Gently spiced, so as to not be overpowering, I hope to serve these alongside an orange creme caramel (the orange in the creme being echoed by the peel in the poaching liquid for the figs).
Poached Spiced Figs :
1 1/2 cups fruity red wine
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons sugar (I used a little less than this)
strip of orange zest
1 whole clove
2 allspice berries
225g dried figs
Bring all the ingredients but the figs to a simmer in a non-corroding saucepan. Add the figs and cook them at a very slight simmer until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. This will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 12 hours, depending entirely on the figs. Remove the figs to a container with a slotted spoon, raise the heat, bring the syrup to a boil, and reduce by one-third. Pour it over the figs and chill. They will keep for one to two weeks and will benefit from sitting in their syrup for a few days.
This week’s WHB is hosted by Chef Melissa of Cooking Diva.