Made the right way, fig paste has a more complex flavor than fig jam. This is great as a breakfast spread or eaten with Spanish cheeses such as Manchego.
If you choose not to process the jars, you can refrigerate the fig paste for up to 1 month.
Yield: Makes eight 4-ounce jars
- 3 pounds fresh figs, stemmed, cut into quarters, then cut into small dice (8 cups)
- 3 cups red wine, such as Shiraz (may substitute a cabernet sauvignon for a less-sweet paste)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (1 tablespoon)
- Leaves from 8 small stems thyme (1 tablespoon; optional)
Fill a large saucepan or stockpot halfway with water and heat over medium heat until the water is barely bubbing. Place eight 4-ounce jars in the water. (Filling the jars with water from the saucepan will keep them from floating.) Keep the jars hot until ready for use. (You may also use a dishwasher to wash and heat the jars.)
Place the jar lids and rings in a small saucepan. Cover them with water and heat over medium heat until the water is barely bubbling. Keep the lids hot until you are ready to use them. Do not boil the lids.
Combine the figs, red wine and sugar in a medium nonreactive pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half.
Add the lemon juice, zest and thyme, if desired. Cook for about 20 minutes (over medium heat), watching carefully and stirring often, until very thick.
Use tongs to remove the jars from the water.
Fill the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rims clean. Screw on the lids until they are just snug and return the jars to the water, making sure they are covered by 1 to 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; process for 10 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer the jars to a heatproof surface to cool. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.
From pastry chef Polly Brown, owner of Pollystyle baked goods.
Tested by Polly Brown.
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