Each year I pander to some inner nostalgic yearning. I love figs, ever since I was really young. My Mum used to chase the arrival of tins of figs when a consignment arrived by boat. There must have been some sort of bush telegraph on the island. Later when supermarkets arrived on the island: Mauritius, or at least the larger usually Chinese emporiums, you could rely on getting them there, but not always! The large tin was opened and the jam decanted into a couple jars, which were then kept in the fridge. One of the snacks my Dad had in the afternoon when coming home from work, was a sliced pain maison, ice cold hard butter, which soon melted in the heat, and green fig jam. Being daddy's girl, of course, I had to have the same!
Now I eat all types of figs, and when on holiday in warmer climes often buy a small bag full, and eaten on the foot if fresh, or if dried, they are brought back home to poach. Some sharp goats' or creamy sheeps yogurt topped with a couple of poached figs is my fall back pudding of choice.
I look out for figs in the local fruit and vegetables shops, and splash out on a tray full. This year for one week only it seems, our Kenilworth Greengrocer had 500g tubs of smaller, but no less beautiful and ripe figs. I did not hesitate and came home with 3...
In the week, Katherine had given me a few crab apples and having just prepared them, thought of incorporating them into the preserve. I make this preserve to use in things, rather than to get a 'perfect' set jam. Its the flavour I am going for. Figs are all texture and looks, sweetness in abundance, but I feel them are improved with a few extras in a compote. I once had fig and lime marmalade, which was a great combination. This time I decided to add orange, and a few spices too. The figs bought last year in Dubrovnik market had dried bayleaves, so this Fig Conserve has had a few fresh bay leaves added.
1200g prepared figs, chopped to about 1.5 cm pieces
1 Large Orange zest and juice
2 large ladles of crab apple juice
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp powdered allspice
1tsp powdered cinnamon
Put everything apart from the sugar into a large pan, and then simmer gently till soft, stirring from time to time to make sure nothing sticks. The consistency is thick. I think the fruit continues to cook very gently as it cools, you can then add the sugar or leave it a little longer if you have other things to do. Taste the mixture, if you would like something extra such as lemon juice or lime juice, then add it now. Stirring gently until the sugar is dissolved, its then brought to the boil, and cooked again, till its a thickish consistency. I cooked it for about 15 minutes. You need to stir from time to time to avoid the fruit catching on the bottom.
This morning I had some from the little pot on my morning pumpkin brioche, and it was delicious. I liked the texture too.