Figgy Jam! Just the name alone conjures Christmas spirit! And it’s December – time to plan cheese pairings!
Personally, I think a jam, paste, or curd is a wonderful addition to a cheese platter, because it enhances the cheese. This one has a little savory component to it, but it’s not a chutney. And, it’s really not a jam, because it’s not that sweet.
Just as the Spaniards are so good at pairing their beloved Manchego with quince paste, I make my figgy “jam” to pair with cheeses like Chèvre, Brie, and my favorite stinky cheese of all time – the famous Époisses from the Burgundy region of France.
I love dried figs, but I have to admit something. When I eat a dense fig jam, it can sometimes feel like I’m chewing sand because of the seeds. So to the figs, I added dates and dried cranberries. That way, I will have the figgy flavor, but not so many seeds.
And the cranberries provide a more scarlet color, which fits the holidays. So here’s what I did:
1 pound dried fruit – chopped figs, chopped dates, and dried cranberries
1 apple, peeled, cored, finely diced
¾ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup ruby Port
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
On a scale, weigh out the fruit you’re using – in this case, figs, dates, and dried cranberries.
Place all of the ingredients in a pot including the cinnamon stick.
Cook the mixture with the lid on for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often.
Pretty much all of the liquid will have been absorbed; you want the dried fruit hydrated, but also have a little liquid left over in order to process the jam.
Let the mixture cool. Remove the cinnamon stick, then put the mixture in a food processor. Pulse, scrape, pulse, scape, and continue, using a little more orange juice if necessary. I don’t make a paste – I prefer to have a little texture.
Place in jars and store in the refrigerator. Alternately, freeze the jars and thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
The jam is best at room temperature served with a variety of cheeses, crackers, breads, and more dried fruits!
There are brie logs that would make lovely canapés.
Also, the figgy jam could be put on a brie wheel of any size, warmed slightly. Then you get the combination of oozing cheese and the figgy jam.
I drizzled a little maple syrup over the brie as well.
The jam is also good with goat cheese.
However you use it, you will love the combination.
The figgy jam isn’t terribly sweet, so it’s also good on toast in the morning!