We’re kind of hooked on figs around here. As kids, we were the sort that ran around the backyard with freshly picked figs in our fists. The months of August and September were overwhelmed by mountains of figs from our garden. We’d give ourselves stomach aches from eating too many, but we just couldn’t stop. Sunny afternoons weren’t complete without a bowl of figs nearby. Rainy days were brightened with figs. Figs after dinner, figs for breakfast, figs for anyone who rang the doorbell. It was a big tree.
On top of our tree, my grandparents had two 2-story fig trees in their backyard across the street. The trees have since died (one struck by lightning, I’m told), and maybe it’s for the best. Perhaps a whole family of grandparents, parents, and kids strung out on sugar for two straight months isn’t the best thing. Portion control was not a known term in our house.
We’ve reached that dreary part of winter where all I can do is dream of figs. They’re at least six months away and there’s nothing I can do to bring them back sooner. Even worse, there’s still a solid two months of winter to bear. I’m starting to reach my breaking point…
But I do have something to hold me over. My brother and sis-in-law, ever-resourceful Christmas gift givers that they are, gave us a jar of homemade fig spread for Christmas. It’s the perfect thing to appease any fig-obsessed crazy person until Summer. I’ll be making more this weekend. Here’s their recipe, in case you’re also feeling the need for a February fig fix. Whatever it takes to get us through winter.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Figs Bars (filling only)
3 cups roughly chopped dried Calimyrna figs (about 1 pound)
¼ cup honey
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon round cinnamon
½ teaspoon finely ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a non-stick frying pan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until reduced to a thick paste, 10 to 15 minutes. After mixture cools, pulse until smooth in a food processor. Spread mixture on a baking sheet to cool. Filling can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.