Cooking from the Garden
With three fig trees in my garden, I simply must include a dish for this candy-like fruit - a tart recipe that combines thick fig slices and goat cheese. But my favorite way to use a fig crop is to make preserves, which is what got me addicted to serving goat cheese with fig preserves as an hors d’oeuvre.
- Fig Preserves
- Yield: 8 pints
- 8 cups figs, washed but unpeeled (figs may be cooked whole or chopped)
- 8 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 lemon, unpeeled, thinly sliced
Place figs, sugar, water, and lemon in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Stir and heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring often, until figs are translucent and syrup is very thick, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Fill hot, sterilized jars with boiling figs and syrup, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe edge of jars and screw on bands and lids lightly. Cook jars in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. *Remove canning pot from heat, and after a few minutes, remove jars to a towel-lined counter to cool. As jars cool, they will seal. Tighten lids.
*Use a commercial canner with removable rack, or if one is not available, place a silicone mat (such as a pot holder) in the bottom of a tall pot. The pot must be tall enough to cover jars with water by at least 1 inch. Cover jars with water, cover pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer jars 10 minutes.
- Goat Cheese With Fig Preserves and Rosemary
- Yield: about 2 cups spread to serve 8-10
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1 cup fig preserves
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
Place goat cheese and cream cheese in a glass bowl and soften in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir together until smooth. Pile mixture onto serving platter, forming a flat top that will hold the fig preserves. If not serving right away, refrigerate up to 2 days. To serve, allow cheese mixture to sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes. Top with fig preserves and sprinkle with rosemary. Serve with crackers.