Fichi Caramellati (Caramelized Figs)

By • October 9, 2009 11 Comments

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Author Notes: inspiration from a year in Italy - LouliesLoulies

Food52 Review: This recipe is originally from Joyce Goldstein's Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. We liked how you keep the figs whole, adding just a sliver of lemon zest, much as you might slip garlic in lamb, and uses rapid heat and a fragrant syrup (rum, sugar, vanilla bean) to quickly soften the fruit and glaze it. By the time the figs come out of the pan, they look laquered, collapsed but still intact -- and wonderfully fragrant. We ate the figs over Greek yogurt, but a dollop of mascarpone or ricotta would have done the job, too. If you have some leftover, we think it makes a perfectly acceptable breakfast: figs, yogurt and a little kick of rum. Which reminds us, the rum in the recipe is optional. In our minds, it is not! - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6-8

  • 2 pounds ripe figs, washed
  • Lemon zest strips, 1-inch long and 1/4-inch wide (pith removed)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Rum, as needed (optional)
  • Vanilla Bean
  1. Place whole figs in a deep, wide saucepan. Cut a small slit at the top of each fruit and insert a lemon zest strip into each slit. Sprinkle sugar over figs. Add water, or part water/part rum, to a depth of 1/4-inch in the pan. Place a vanilla bean in the center of the pan.
  2. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until sugar caramelizes, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
  3. Note: Pears can be prepared the same way: peel, halve, and core, then poach in simple syrup or wine with strips of lemon zest and vanilla bean. They take longer to cook than the figs.

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