Fichi Caramellati (Caramelized Figs)

October 9, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Ingredients

  • 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
In This Recipe

Directions

  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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Reviews (14) Questions (0)

14 Reviews

the M. September 18, 2012
I have a lovely problem right now. The fig tree that I couldn't resist at Whole Foods two years ago is now so high that I can't reach all the figs. Living in central New Jersey, my husband laughed at me and called me very hopeful if I thought I would ever get any figs! With my bountiful harvest, I made a lovely fig chutney based off of this recipe, quartering the figs and seating a lemon. It is delicious over ice cream and even better on pound cake!!! I hope it freezes well because I'm blessed with about two dozen figs a day right now! Thanks for the inspiration,
 
Jessica January 1, 2016
hi! you planted the fig tree outside or kept it inside?
 
the M. January 1, 2016
I planted a brown turkey fig tree outside - about 5 years ago. I planted It on the east side of my house against a stone wall so it is sheltered from the harsh northwest wind. With all that said, it did really well the first three years and was huge. The last two winters, the top has died to the ground but sprouted new wood from the roots. Now the last two winters we very harsh with extended periods of sub 20F temperatures. This winter is mild, so I suspect it will be fine. I don't protect it by wrapping so it is a crap shoot every year to see if the old wood will survive the winter. I only get a good crop when last year's wood makes it through the winter. So I've had three good years and two bad years - and I expect a good year next year. So far, it was worth the $10 investment! I have picked hundreds of figs from the tree! I have also grown figs in pots, but they don't get big enough to produce much - maybe a few dozen in a season. I currently have two small white figs in pots but they are a pain to haul in and out of the house - potted figs must be hauled in every winter or they will die.<br /><br />I would say experiment - buy a fig tree at the end of the season when they are on sale. Oversights it inside and then plant out in the spring and see what happens! You will get one seasons crop for sure that way and if it dies the following winter, you will have recouped your money with a whole seasons worth of figs!
 
Jessica January 1, 2016
Thanks so much for your response! I'm so excited about getting a tree of my own now. I really appreciate the advice, and the fact that I possibly won't go broke spending my paycheck on fresh figs this year :-)
 
eternalgradstudent July 22, 2011
I made this last night for a friend, but with pears. It was amazing!! I served it with greek yogurt with about a tablespoon of honey mixed in. The rum-vanilla syrup and the tangy sweet yogurt was the perfect accent for the fruit! Can't wait to try it with figs next time.
 
SarahS December 28, 2009
I'm thinking of making this for New Year's eve meal. I mean, dessert - can't wait to eat this again.
 
newbiecook December 7, 2009
Unless otherwise noted, this is Joyce Goldstein's recipe from her 2005 book "Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen"
 
eawnyc November 23, 2009
I forgot to thank you for this. I served this with mascarpone. What if anything would you serve with the pear preparation?
 
mcvl October 21, 2009
This is a lovely, lovely idea, especially the adorable little lemon-tongues peeping out of the figs' mouths. My husband said, comparing it to the fig clafoutis, that it would be a much better way to convince somebody to like figs. The figs in the clafoutis are swept up in a mad waltz of butter and cream and honey and spice and zest and apple brandy. Here, figs are front and center; the other ingredients bow graciously. We followed A&M's suggestion and served them with Greek yogurt. (Tomorrow morning we'll follow their suggestion and have the rest for breakfast.) I scaled the recipe back from roughly 50 figs (2 pounds) to 15 figs, four servings (two tonight, two tomorrow). Am I the only one who needs to scale all these recipes back? <br />
 
mcvl October 21, 2009
And we did indeed have more figs for breakfast with Zoom, a hot whole-wheat cereal, and unsweetened Silk. I had used a Meyer lemon for the lemon peel, and in the morning the figs were suffused with that Meyer perfume, much stronger than either the vanilla or the rum. So good!
 
AmeliaPS October 16, 2009
delizioso!
 
mrslarkin October 15, 2009
So simple! I'm trying this one!
 
mrslarkin October 15, 2009
So simple! I'm trying this one!
 
testkitchenette October 15, 2009
Love it!