One of the earliest foods cultivated by man, figs, the sacred biblical fruit of ancient times, are cherished in some cultures as a symbol of peace and prosperity.
Most U.S.-grown figs are available from June through September, but you may find imports in the stores.
If you do, cut them into grains or stuffing; serve them sliced on ham or turkey sandwiches; stuff them with cream cheese, goat cheese or mascarpone; served on a cheese plate; chop and bake them in muffins; cook them with meat dishes (great with pork); make a fig tart or fig ice cream for dessert.
And the easiest way…dip them in chocolate!
Serve them on Christmas Eve with a sparkling or dessert wine; bring them as a gift; serve them on New Year’s Eve.
Select figs that are fresh-smelling and fairly soft—avoid hard figs. You can ripen them at room temperature or lay them on a layer of paper towels, cover with plastic and refrigerate for a few days.
Chocolate-dipped figsPhoto courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.
RECIPE: CHOCOLATE DIPPED FIGS
1. BREAK the chocolate into pieces and melt in a double boiler.
2. PLUMP the figs. You can actually dip them in your favorite spirit (and of course, drink the leftover “fig spirit.”
3. DIP each fig into the melted chocolate and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely.
4. STORE in an airtight cookie tin. The figs will keep at room temperature for 3-4 weeks.