Baked Figs

Just about anything is improved by redcurrant jelly and port. (As mentioned elsewhere, it is a particularly fine sauce for steak, or game.) Tonight it’s the turn of some rather decent figs that happened to be in the shop. As I understand it, it’s the tail end of the season, but there are some decent ones to be had.

I used:

  • 4 figs (allow two per person)
  • 60mL port (more heresy – I used some vintage port, as it had been open a while)
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (it’s a little hard to wrangle out of the jar, so don’t worry too much if you’re not exact)

Get the oven going. I cranked my fan forced up to 180ºC.

Split the figs in two. You will need very gentle pressure from a very sharp knife to do this in a dignified way.

You will need to dissolve the jelly. You could either push it through a coarse sieve, or pop it into a small saucepan with the port, and bring to the boil. Doesn’t matter if there are a few lumps.

The figs are going to be baked face down, so find an oven proof dish small enough for them to fit snugly, side by side. Butter the dish to be on the safe side.

Place the figs in the dish, face down, and pour over the sauce. There should be about half a centimetre in the dish, we’re not trying to drown them.

The oven should have warmed up by now, so pop them in, and let them go for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them. If the sauce reduces too much, it will burn. The figs are done when they’re just starting to wrinkle on the outside, with a hint of shiny translucency. (But figs don’t need a lot of cooking, so 20 mins will probably do.)

Saint Nigel reckons you should serve them on brioche. I see nothing wrong with this. We once had a bread and butter pudding made with brioche, and one might even be able to invent a diabolical variation involving figs and port.

My preferences are a little more common. Vanilla ice cream, or tonight, custard from the shop, spooned cold out of the pot. Nice custard, with vanilla seeds, but shop bought nonetheless.

Don’t forget to save any excess sauce for putting on ice cream tomorrow!

Variations

You could replace the port/redcurrant with lemon juice, butter, sugar, and either half a vanilla pod, or a bashed up cinnamon stick.

Tinned Figs

This won’t work with tinned figs. These are rather nice, in their own way, and are best served with a splodge of mascarpone and a dollop of strong honey.

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