Really. This jam is insanely delicious. We have 3 fig trees in our yard that produce an absurd amount of figs, which mostly go to support the extremely healthy avian population in our neighborhood. And I have to admit, the first few years I lived here, I let most of them go to the birds. I tried lots of recipes, I did. But I couldn’t find one that I loved enough to be my standard end of summer canning project.
And then a few years ago I did. I found a version of this recipe somewhere on the Internets, not a normal recipe site, just through google. And I made the necessary adjustments to make it as delicious as possible. It’s sweet from the figs, floral from the lavender, rich from the pinenuts, and sort of deep from the port. It is amazing with a nutty aged cheese and glass of red wine, but also perfect on toast with butter on a bright fall Saturday morning.
Fig & Lavender Jam with pinenuts and port
(as always, these quantities are a little loose… I’m not so good with the measurements)
1 very large bowl of washed, roughly chopped figs (2-3 lbs)
~3 cups sugar
zest of 1 lemon
6T lemon juice
2 T finely chopped ginger (i use fresh, but i suppose you could use preserved too, it would just be sweeter)
1/8 – 1/4 c (depending on how flowery you want it to taste) tied in muslin or cheesecloth. i buy these little muslin bags from health food stores that they sell in the bulk herb section, but I’ve used cheesecloth before too, just make sure none of the little flowers can escape and if you use cheesecloth, be aware of strings that get lost in the jam.
1/4 c LIGHTLY toasted pinenuts (you can eyeball this, I just like to make sure that there are enough in there so you always get one when you take a scoop)
1 GENEROUS pour of port (this really makes the jam so try not to leave it out. And pick a decent quality port that you wouldn’t mind drinking yourself, I think).
Chop all figs roughly. Put them in a large, broad, heavy saucepan with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, ginger and lavender. Bring them slowly to a boil and then boil quite fast for 20 – 40 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, I pour in the port. I like to wait until close to the end so all the alcohol doesn’t burn off, you know? Just go by feel here.
I like to let the jam go until the figs start to break apart, but not so long as it starts to smell like burning candy. That is bad. If your lavender bag is sort of precariously tied, I might wait until the sugar melts and the mixture gets a little soupy to add it This way the lavender doesn’t have to endure so many turns with the spoon.
Once you’ve determined that the jam is done, take it off the heat, discard the lavender bag, and stir in the pinenuts. and Voila! You can obviously can it at this point, while the jam is piping hot, or just ladle it into big glass jars and keep it in the fridge.