Monday, 30 March 2015

Figs to Die For

                                              Spiced Figs in Brandy

Today I found a forgotten jar of spiced figs in brandy, made two years ago when we were shooting photos for my 'Relish' book on relishes and chutneys (and more). They're always seriously good, even after only a month or two, but these - well these are to die for.
My own figs aren't quite ready to eat yet, but after tasting these I rushed down to the shops and bought 3 kilos (the recipe requires 1 kilo) and a bottle of brandy. Not that the recipe contains a lot of brandy, just a third of a cup plus an extra slosh if you're me). Hopefully I can secrete at least a couple of jars away to mature. .

                    Spiced Figs in Brandy           

Creamy blue cheese was made to enjoy with a slice of brandied fig; add a glass of port for that perfect finale to a special meal.
Makes 3 jars.

1 kg fresh figs
250ml (1 cup) red wine
6 cardmom pods
1x 10cm cinnamon stick
2 tsp sumac*
2 star anise
15 cloves
375g sugar (1 ¾ cups)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
                   or balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brandy

Spear each fig 2-3 times with a fine skewer.
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to simmer point over a low heat. Simmer gently for 1 hour.
Stir in the brandy and bring back to simmer point – this will only take about one minute.
Pack the figs loosely into hot, sterilized jars and fill with the hot syrup. Screw on hot, sterilized metal lids.
Leave for at least two weeks, preferably a month or more.
*A spice made from the berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush. The spice has a rich red/brown colour and has a refreshing fruity tart flavour reminiscent of lemon.