Every year I make lots of jams from fruits from my garden. Fig jam, I have found, are not my grandchildren's choice (strawberry and peach are their favourite). So I decided to make an adult version of fig jam - I added vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and Grappa at the very end. I use this jam in fig tarts (under the figs) and also in the simple Italian Crostata. It also goes very well with a mature Pecorino cheese and Gorgonzola! I never exceed 4 1/2 pounds of fruit at a time because I find that the colour doesn't come out as nice. Just don't ask me why, but it's a fact with all my jams! —Maria Teresa Jorge
Peel the figs and cut them in quarters. Set aside.
In a large pot add half the sugar, add the figs, add the rest of the sugar, cover with a lid and put in a cool place for 6 hours.
Put the pan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is totally dissolved. Split the vanilla bean in half, remove the seeds into the sugar. Cut the vanilla bean in 6 pieces and add to the sugar. Add the cinnamon sticks and when the mixture reaches boiling point, lower the heat to the minimum and let simmer for 20 minutes, stiring from time to time so it doesn't stick to the bottom.
Wash your jars and the lids thouroughly, sterilize them with boiling water, remove from the water and turn them upside down on a clean kitchen towel.
Cover a table top with a few pieces of newspaper and add a heat protection to the table so you can put the pot on it.
Squeeze the juice of two lemons.
Add the Grappa to the jam, let simmer 5 minutes, add the lemon juice (for the pectin as figs don't have it), mix and remove from the heat. Put your pan on the table with the newspaper and start filling your jars. Clean the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and put the lid on immediately. Turn the jar upside down on the newspaper. Proceed with all the jam in the same way until you are finished. If the jam starts cooling, warm it up to boiling point again, jars should be filled with very hot jam.
Leave the jars upside down for 1 hour, then turn them over, wash any jam that is sticking to the jars and keep in a cool dark place until needed.
The step where I turn the pots upside down is Lenôtre's recommendation so that the air inside the jar is all sterilized. For me it works with all the jams, year after year and I never get mold in my jams.
NOTE: If you want to keep your jams light in colour, only cook 1 1/2 pounds of fruit a time. With more fruit, it takes longer for the jam to reach the right point of doneness and darkens in the process. Strawberry and peach jams have exactly the same reaction and get very dark if you cook more then 1 1/2 pound a time. Divide the ingredients proportionally and cook in 3 batches for light coloured jams.