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Balsamic Fig Jam

This luxurious Balsamic Fig Jam improves breakfast spreads, increases the appeal of baked goods, and creates unforgettable savory bites. It makes for a unique gift, too! {Jump to Recipe}

Balsamic Fig Jam // FoodNouveau.com

Fresh figs: love ʼem or hate ʼem? Fresh figs have a unique texture, a honeyed sweetness, and a mellow, earthy taste—but a perfect fresh fig can be difficult to find. Like many other fruits, the flavor of imperfect fresh figs can be improved tenfold by macerating them in sugar for a short amount of time. I like to use short-macerated figs in salads or over yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast—but if I’m lucky enough to score a large quantity of figs for cheap, I’ll turn them into a sweet treat no one can resist: Balsamic Fig Jam.

This Balsamic Fig Jam is made in three steps:

  • Fruit maceration
  • First boil, then overnight rest
  • Second boil, then preserve

The first step, fruit maceration, allows figs to “loosen up” and start releasing their juices. This step is especially important if you have imperfect, or not quite ripe, figs on your hands. Macerating the figs will wake up their subtle flavor.

The second step, the first boil followed by an overnight rest, softens the fig skin and flesh, allowing it to become glassy and super jammy in the final step.

The final step, the second boil, turns the concoction into a proper, dreamy jam you can jar and preserve the way you would any other jams. (See the recipe note for instructions for sterilizing jars and lids for preserving.) I like to divide the jam between small jars, which are perfect for gifting. I also find that a smaller format easily allows you to go through it in one sitting, which means you won’t be stuck with storing yet another half-empty jam jar in the fridge.

Balsamic Fig Jam // FoodNouveau.com

This Balsamic Fig Jam is extremely versatile. You can, of course, serve it with croissants and fresh bread for breakfast, but you can also slather it over the bottom of a pie crust (it’s an excellent flavor addition to frangipane tart), dollop it over financiers instead of using fresh figs, spoon it over vanilla bean gelato or ice cream, or spread it between the layers of a cake.

But don’t limit yourself to sweet options: The balsamic vinegar intensifies the taste of the figs, which makes this Balsamic Fig Jam perfect for savory flavor pairings, too. You can use it the way you’d use a chutney or onion confit: spoon it over terrines and hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, serve it alongside cured meats, as a garnish over goat cheese or blue cheese crostini, as a pizza topping, or even as a condiment for roasted pork, chicken, or turkey.

Keep your eyes peeled for fresh figs through the fall: most grocery stores will sell them by the case while they’re in season. Buying a larger quantity means you can spare some of them to make this jam and still keep a few to enjoy fresh. If you’re lucky enough to live close to where figs grow, or even have a fig tree in your own backyard, go ahead and double or even triple this recipe. You’ll get to gift this delightful Balsamic Fig Jam throughout the holiday season!

Balsamic Fig Jam // FoodNouveau.com

Balsamic Fig Jam

Prep

Inactive

Total

Yield 2 cups (500 ml)

This luxurious Balsamic Fig Jam improves breakfast spreads, increases the appeal of baked goods, and creates unforgettable savory bites. It makes for a unique gift, too!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb (600 grams) ripe figs (about 8 plump figs), cut in small dice (about 1/4
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cane sugar, or regular granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) top quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

In a large measuring cup or a heatproof bowl, add the figs and half of the sugar (1 cup/250 ml) and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Transfer the fig and sugar mixture to a small stainless steel saucepan. (The mixture should come halfway up the sides of the saucepan.) Set over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring from time to time with a silicon spatula. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and transfer back to the measuring cup or heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

Sterilize jam jars if you do not plan to use the jam within two weeks. (See note below for instructions.)

Transfer the fig and sugar mixture back into the saucepan. Keep a skimmer or a slotted spoon close to the stove. Place a small plate in the refrigerator. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring the fruit back to a boil, stirring from time to time with a silicon spatula. Stir in the remaining sugar, the lemon juice, and the balsamic vinegar. Boil, stirring, until the mixture is thick but not to concentrated, about 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises, dipping the spoon or skimmer into the bowl of water to remove the foam.

To test for doneness, remove the place from the refrigerator and place a spoonful of jam on it. Wait for 20 seconds, then tilt the plate. The fig jam should only run very slowly. Boil a little longer if it seems too runny, keeping in mind the jam will thicken further as it cools. You want the fig jam to remain spreadable.

Transfer the fig jam into the sterilized jars. (See note below for instructions.) Cover, let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, or store in a dark, cool place if you stored the jam in sterilized jars. Unsterilized fig jam and opened jars will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Credit: Adapted from a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times.

Notes

To sterilize jars and lids for preserving, preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Wash the jars in hot, soapy water. Dry the jars, then set on a baking sheet, leaving space in-between the jars. Place in the oven for 15 minutes to sterilize. Meanwhile, place the lids in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave in the hot water until ready to use. Once the jars are sterilized, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

Courses Breakfast, Dessert, Appetizers

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