WHB 95# : Poached Spiced Figs


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
6 peppercorns
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.

wildfigs.jpg wildfigs-poaching.jpg


  1. melissa said,

    August 11, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

    Those figs look fantastic! Thank you for joining WHB#95! Have a tasty weekend…

  2. Susan said,

    August 12, 2007 @ 12:33 am

    Lovely. Figs are such a treasure, fresh or dried. This recipe would also be glorious spooned over a grilled chop.

  3. cathy x. said,

    August 20, 2007 @ 1:58 am

    its funny the words that are often used as slang terms. i learnt one the embarrassing way while i was staying at my friends house in madrid. i went past the fruit market on the way home from my spanish classes and picked up 3 figs. they were marked as BREVAS at the store so when i got back and offered a breva to the lesbian flatmate of my friend she burst out laughing and explained that breva is spanish slang for the female you-know-what and breva hijo is the fruit! how awkward.. doo doo doo….

  4. Y said,

    August 20, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

    Cathy : Trust you to discover all the slang words, even in a different language! 😛
    The bean arrived safely today. It’s very cute. I’ll send you pictorial updates, once it gets going!

  5. Y said,

    August 20, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

    Susan : I don’t usually like mixing fruit with my main meals, but I can definitely see the poached figs working with a chop. Also saw a recipe somewhere where a similar thing was paired with duck.

  6. Kalyn said,

    September 16, 2007 @ 1:20 am

    I’m happy to see that Melissa is doing better and has finally posted the recap for this WHB. Thanks for being so patient.

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