These figs in Port wine, made with fresh figs, tawny port, sugar, and black peppercorns, is a simple, elegant summer dessert.
Figs in port. You may be thinking figs poached in port. Nope. It’s simply caramelized figs drowned in a sauce made from 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 or that are in some way lacking perfection. This recipe hides their flaws and coaxes them into completion. 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 wouldn’t dream of arguing.
Special Equipment: Tea ball or cheesecloth (optional)
Figs in Port
- 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 granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup tawny port
- 1 1/2 teaspoons 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.