Not actually honey, but a honey-like syrup made from dried figs - an age-old recipe from Puglia in southern Italy. Traditionally used in pastry-making, such as for cartellate, beautiful crinkle-edged little pastries, it is also well-suited to roast meats (try it as a glaze for roast pork or duck), particularly game. It's wonderful for dessert with ice cream or as part of an after-dinner cheese plate and it makes a nice alternative to honey for vegans. —Emiko
Cut figs in half and place in a large pot with the water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about an hour or until the liquid is reduced by at least half and the figs are soft.
Drain the figs and their liquid in a muslin-lined sieve over a bowl. When the figs are cool enough to handle, bring the edges of the muslin together and give it a good squeeze to remove as much liquid as you can. Place the strained liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes or so to reduce further and set. You can see if the syrup is at setting point by keeping a saucer in the freezer and testing several drops of hot syrup on the cold plate for a dense, honey-like consistency.
Pour the fig honey into clean, sterilised, warm jars and seal as you would a jam.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.