7 November, 2017
Close Encounters Of The Stuffed Figs
Figs may not be a favorite fruit for most people, but to an Italian whose family generated from Southern Italy, it’s like “Fruit of the Gods” for me. Stuffed figs are a popular Pugliese treat. Traditionally, Italians will dry the figs in the sun at the end of summer or early Fall, stuff them, cook the stuffed figs, and then they store in jars and give as gifts at Christmas time.
While in Italy, we were introduced to stuffed figs from Anna who makes these each year in her outdoor kitchen and brick oven.
Anna dried these figs previously and stuffed them – ready to put in the brick oven.
In they go for the last cooking.
Right out of the oven, ready to eat or store.
Behind these biscotti is the jar that Anna stores her stuffed figs. They were sooooo good! Well, and the biscotti she and I made that day were pretty darn good as well. Click here if you want to read more about the day Anna and I cooked in Manduria.
This summer our young fig tree had 12 figs on it (whoohoo!) but we were in Italy when they ripened so we never ate one fig off our tree. When our friend Julia called and invited us to pick figs off her trees, I about knocked my hubby down to get to the car. Julia’s trees are over 10 years old, very mature, and were just loaded with figs this year.
Julia was so generous and let us take two boxes of figs home! I was in heaven as figs are one of my favorite fruits. My grandfather used to grow figs in Southern California and sold them to a local co-op back in the day. I can remember when we visited our grandparents as a kid helping during harvest. Well, not really helping harvest the figs, my job was to carefully place each fig into a paper wrapper to protect them for shipping to their destination. The most fun was to be with my grandpa riding around in an old jeep to collect the figs from the pickers. I was a city girl, after all, growing up in Los Angeles, so this was a big deal to be out in the country.Julia’s figs ready to dehydrate.
Before stuffing, brush almonds with honey, or balsamic vinegar, or sweet wine. Roast the almonds in a 350-degree oven for about ten minutes. Then add the almonds to one side of figs.
Fold fig over once almond is inserted, and brush with sweet wine, or balsamic vinegar or honey.
Cook stuffed figs in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Eat stuffed figs warm out of the oven, or cooled off. These make great appetizers, and snacks and can be stored in the fridge for about a week or so.
After making the stuffed figs, I still had some figs left. I knew they wouldn’t last long at this time of year so I used them to make fig jam. I have several great appetizers that use fig jam, and believe it or not, it is often hard to find in the grocery store.
This recipe is so simple, it’s not even a “recipe.” I washed the figs, took the stems off, and put them in a large pot. I cooked them down for about ten minutes, added a couple of tablespoons of honey and taste tested. Depending on how sweet you like your jam will determine how much honey you add. I also added a dash of cinnamon to the fig mixture. Julia adds brandy to her fig jam. I have to say her version of fig jam is really good too!
Once the figs soften, whisk with an immersion blender to puree the figs to a jam consistency.
Scoop into a jar and keep in the fridge for several weeks. If there’s such a thing as “fig heaven”, I want to go there!