Monday, October 12, 2009

Figs

When I haven't posted in a while I get kind of shy and awkward - everything I write sounds contrived. So I will just say that I am looking for an excuse to post these pictures, which I love. Figs are so Fall. Sensuous, sweet, soft, seedy. Fig paste and fig jam, especially with cheese. Goat cheese and figs; brie and figs; manchego and figs. Figs, dried, are also an essential component of the esteemed fruitcake.

But I think the things I love the most about them are their color, and the fact that they are willing to grow on Mercer Island. There is one tree in the orchard, on a gentle west-facing slope, and most years we get some. This year was good – hot and dry in the summer leading to a harvest of over 50 – other years more like 5. When they’re young, they are tiny little lime green buds – until really late in the summer, it seems like there is no possible way they can get ripe. Even in September when they are the size of golf balls, hard and still lime green – no way will they get ripe before the first frost. Then all of a sudden they’re tinged purple part of the way up, then purple all the way. Still green inside, then all of a sudden pink. That’s the point where I grab them – maybe they’d get riper, but maybe the raccoon would get them, or the crows, and really they’re very very good right at this point. With this year’s 50, I started with eating some fresh, of course, but then went right to fig jam, to fill some turnovers. Cut 20 figs into eighths and put into a medium saucepan, add 6 T brown sugar, and the juice and rind of a small lemon. Cinnamon if you want, but I don’t. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring frequently, until much of the liquid is gone and the figs are reduced to a thick and jammy consistency. Take your favorite pastry – either a pie crust or a puff pastry, and fill with the jam, fold over and seal, sprinkle with sugar, and bake in accordance with whatever pastry you used. In this one I used puff pastry – they always bake better if you pop them in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

1 comment:

LaDue & Crew said...

Oh good Lord you've got food porn! FIGS!! Yum-O-lish!! I. want. Some.

I am a lame, lame, girl... package is in a box on my counter. Post office will see the whites of my eyes tomorrow ;-)