Before there was this Figs in Port recipe, there was an enormous Turkish fig tree in my grandmother’s backyard in Istanbul. It looked like something out of The Lord of the Rings or a children’s fantasy novel. I have very fond memories of being five years old and playing around that tree, where I found copious amounts of sweet figs on the ground and on low-hanging branches and gorged myself on as many as could fit into my little stomach. By the time my mother called me in for dinner, I would have no appetite for the meal and was punished for not eating. This recipe is a classic French preparation for figs, but the fruit always reminds me of my childhood. I call for Black Mission figs here. Their red-purple color and rich natural flavor pair extremely well with the deep, round, fruity aromas and flavors of the port wine. The peppercorns give your palate a kick at just the right moment.–Yigit Pura
LC Qualities We Swoon To In A Dessert Note
Simple. Seasonal. Sophisticated. Sassy. Sublime. All qualities we swoon to in a dessert. All found in this figs in port recipe. [Editor’s Note: A perfectly ripe fig is a rare thing. When you happen upon one, don’t smother it with other flavors. Simply stare at it for a moment and then consume it, preferably out of hand, definitely all by itself. And savor it. Don’t toss it in a pot with other ingredients that may overwhelm it. Save recipes such as this one for figs that are slightly underripe or somewhat overripe—that are in some way wanting and simply cannot wait to be coaxed to perfection.]
Special Equipment: Tea ball or cheesecloth (optional)
Figs in Port Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 15 M
- Makes 20 fig halves
- 10 large, slightly underripe or somewhat overripe Black Mission figs
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) tawny port
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) whole black peppercorns
- 1. Remove the stems from the figs and cut them in half lengthwise.
- 2. Place a 10-inch stainless-steel or enamel-coated saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the surface. It will melt right away and begin to caramelize and smoke. Immediately place the figs, cut side down, onto the caramelizing sugar. Reduce the heat to low and let the figs cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not stir or toss or turn the figs. The figs will naturally release their own juices which will dissolve the sugar.
- 3. Carefully add the port to the saucepan. Keep the pan over low heat until the caramel melts completely and begins to coat the figs. Add the peppercorns, first enclosing them in a tea ball or cheesecloth, if desired. Use heat-resistant tongs to flip the figs over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the figs to a platter, cut side up, and cover to keep warm.
- 4. Return the pan to medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, using a heat-resistant rubber spatula to stir and occasionally scrape the bottom to pull up all the caramel and peppercorn goodness that may be stuck there. Remove and discard the peppercorn via the tea ball or cheesecloth or a slotted spoon. The port sauce should be deep purple, thick, and velvety. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 5. Drizzle the warm figs with the port sauce and serve immediately.
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Figs in Port Recipe © 2014 Yigit Pura. Photo © 2014 Frankie Frankeny. All rights reserved.
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