We know figs are expensive and some of you will balk at the proportions below. But those of you with a tree in your yard or who may be lucky enough to know someone with a fig tree in their yard (like we do) should appreciate this recipe. When fig trees start producing, just like any fruit tree we suppose, staying on top of the harvest can be quite a challenge. This makes use of firm, but ripe or even slightly under ripe fruit. Picking figs when the heat index is still up in the 90s as sunset approaches is akin to torture (especially if you forget your gloves to protect from the sticky juice, but trust us they only help so much.) But figs are wonderful, tasty little things and are well worth the effort. Candying these little jewels is time-consuming but well worth the effort too.
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh figs, washed
- 4 cups sugar, plus sugar for dusting
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 lemon sliced thin and seeded
- 1/2 inch knob of ginger peeled
Day One: In a large stock pot over medium heat, bring sugar, lemon, water and ginger to a boil stirring often. Add figs and return to a boil. Let boil for five minutes. Turn off heat and cover. Let set for 24 hours.
Days Two to Five: Uncover figs after each 24-hour interval. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Cover and let set.
Day 6: Drain figs. We saved the syrup for cocktails, big surprise. Whether you’re supposed to do this or not is anyone’s guess. Place figs on one or two bakers rack, along with lemon slices. Discard ginger. Place bakers racks over cookie sheets. The figs will drip. Turn oven onto lowest setting. Once the oven reaches temperature, turn it off. Once the oven is off, place the figs inside the oven, close the door and leave it alone for 24 hours.
Day 7 to 12ish: Remove figs from oven after each 24-hour period. Turn oven on to lowest setting. Once it hits temperature turn it off and stick the figs in. The figs will get drier each day. Test them periodically for tackiness. They should be like a dried fig or date you buy at the market. This process took five days for us, but can take up to seven. Once the figs are done, roll them in sugar and place in a cool, dry place. We refrigerate ours because of the humidity where we live even with the AC on.