Allow me to start by giving credit to Canning for a New Generation (Liana Krissoff) for inspiring this recipe. It’s a wonderful read and does deliver on its promise – it’s a lovely guide and great accompaniment to the modern pantry. I have taken her initial recipe and turned it my own direction and changed the cooking technique considerably.
I should also discuss the source of my figs. Figs are a relatively new crop to Ontario (check out this amazing article on growing figs in Ontario in Edible Toronto from 2009) and can be difficult to come by. More than 90% of our preserving is done from Ontario crops; this one was an exception. Because of the use of lemons as a key component, there was an obvious departure from local so I opted for a foreign fruit.
Lastly, let me warn you about cooking times. There’s a lot going on in the slow-roasting process – lemon, sugar, fruit, natural sugars in the fruit and heat can build up. The first attempt I had at this recipe ended up in a lump of burnt fig-like caramel that I stubbornly jammed in a jar and let cool. It took the entire weekend to remove the block of coal-like fig remnants. I figure I missed the turning point by 10-15 minutes so keep an eye on these as they cook.
The main use for these lovelies is for cheese plates. I can’t wait to nosh them back with some cheese-to-be-named-later. I may just pair them with some honey and some of these (one of my favorite discoveries last winter). The figs are cut in large halves and gently slow-roasted to bring out their sweetness. A small bit of sugar is added to cinnamon and lemons before a last-minute addition of Grand Marnier to bring it all together.
- 2 lemons, sliced thinly and seeds removed
- 3 pounds of figs (we used green ones). Gently clean them and remove any stem with a pairing knife.
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 4 sticks of cinnamon (more or less as you like)
- 0.5 cup Grand Marnier (Orange liqueur – oranges and Figs are a natural combination).
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Slice figs in half.
- Place a layer of lemons at the bottom of a dutch oven (recommended but not critical).
- Place a half-fig on top of each slice of lemon (cut side down). Don’t worry about being too perfect.
- Place cinnamon sticks in first layer – closer to the lemons, the better.
- Put multiple layers of lemon and figs as needed and until complete.
- Pout 1 cup of water gently into the pan (this will help prevent sticking and get the natural juices flowing.
- Disperse sugar through pot.
- Place uncovered pot in oven, making sure to place the lid on another rack or beside the pot.
- After 30 minutes, add the lid on top of pot (use care, it will be hot) or cover with tin foil.
- Cook until everything has come together – there will be a lot more syrup formed and the lemons will become almost see-through. This takes about 3 hours. Prepare your canning supplies (jars, lids, waterbath) to coincide with completion. If you don’t time it perfectly, things will stay very hot in your covered pot (but try to time it as close as possible).
- Add the Grand Marnier to the hot pot as stir.
- Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Watch for the cinnamon sticks and try to divide them equally between jars.
- Process 10 minutes in a hot-water bath.
This recipe should yield 4-5 half pint jars:
Now that’s some urban jam!
What else do you make with figs – and what do you eat with it?