Figs in port. Simple. Seasonal. Sophisticated. Sassy. Sublime. All qualities we swoon to in a dessert. All found right here.
Figs in port. It’s actually not figs poached in port. It’s simply figs in port that’s been reduced until sticky and syrupy and concentrated in flavor. It’s the ideal destination for figs that are slightly underripe or somewhat overripe—that are in some way wanting and simply cannot be coaxed to perfection on their own. This recipe more than makes up for their flaws. This recipe has been updated. Originally published September 11, 2014.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Which Variety Of Figs To Use In This Recipe
The author calls for Black Mission figs in this recipe because, in her words, “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.” We’re not going to argue.
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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