I love fresh figs in fall as much as I love alliterative sentences. Figs are fascinating fruits (I’m sorry, I can’t stop) with a long and loaded history. In preparation for this post, I looked up figs in the excellent Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, a book that is now sadly out of print.
In folktales, fig trees housed… supernatural spirits including gods of lesser power, spirits of the dead, genies and demons. In the lore of Central Africa ancestral spirits lived in fig trees, and in the lore of Australia the Yara-ma-yha-who, an odd little red man who lived in the fig tree, pounced on children and swallowed them whole.
It seems appropriate, then, to celebrate the fig as we appraoch the Halloween season. This weekend I made “drunken figs” to be spooned over some vanilla ice cream this week. I haven’t tasted them yet as they’re still marinating, but my tastes tests as I was preparing them tell me they won’t disappoint.
The recipe, modified from Cooking Light:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup honey
- 1/8 cup Herbsaint
- 1/8 cup Amaretto
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Balinese peppercorn
- 24 fresh figs, quartered
- Vanilla Ice Cream
Combine first 7 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Place figs in a shallow dish; add hot syrup to dish. Cool fig mixture to room temperature; cover and refrigerate. To serve, warm fig mixture in a saucepan and spoon over vanilla ice cream.