The first house I ever lived in on my own was in Willow Glen (San Jose area of California), and what Realtor’s would call “cozy and charming” meaning it was small and had a few quirks.
But it was in an established neighborhood of cute Victorians and other older homes, was very clean and it really was charming. The rent was reasonable, I had a kind landlord and all the fruit I wanted from the fruit trees on the property.
The fresh figs were bountiful, so after eating my fill I began to make fichi marmellata (fig jam). I remember it being quite a process, as the fruit seemed to ripen all at once, the jars and lids had to be sterilized and the casement window got stuck (typical of the houses built in the early 1940’s), turning my small kitchen into a sauna.
The beauty of this recipe using the dried fruit variety is that you can make a small amount, it’s easy and quick because it’s not necessary to sterilize the jars (unless you’re making more than you can consume or give away in the next few months). This jam is mildly sweet, try it on toast smeared with mascarpone or on foccacia topped with caramelized onions.
- 2 cups dried figs, chopped
- 2 cups water
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar (more or less according to taste)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Marsala
- In a small saucepan, add the figs, water and sugar, bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, until the figs have plumped up and are very soft.
- When the mixture has cooled a bit, pour into a food processor. Add the lemon juice and Marsala, puree until the jam is the desired consistency. If it’s too thick, you can add a little water (one teaspoon at a time).
- Transfer the spread into pretty containers, store in the refrigerator until ready to use or give as a gift.
This is a staple in my frig. Try it on biscuits, scones, turkey sandwiches and foccacia.