Posts Tagged ‘figs’

These scones pretty much speak for themselves. Inspired, yet again, by Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, a cookbook that I apparently cannot get enough of, Kim brought together two of my favorite things: Figs and buckwheat.

If you’ve never baked with buckwheat flour, you’re in for a treat, and perhaps a bit of a surprise. Buckwheat flour is not fluffy or light, rather, it’s dusty and earthy. Grainy and on the strong side, what it lacks in gluten (you almost always have to blend it with other flours in baking) it makes up for in intensity and, in my world, beauty. I love buckwheat’s dark purplish, gray hues and sandy texture. It lends itself well to the way I like to photograph food, as still-life rather than simply dinner.


Kim Boyce’s Figgy Buckwheat Scones

I only tweaked one thing about this recipe, so I feel I can’t safely say it is “adapted”. I used raw sugar instead of regular cane as that is all I had on hand. Next time, for kicks, I may use honey or molasses as a substitute.

What you’ll need~

Dry Mix

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raw sugar, or cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix

1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch chunks

1 1/4 cup heavy cream, I used whipping

1 cup fig butter (recipe below)

Sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you’re using raw sugar you’ll have to stir that in after you’ve sifted the flours.

Add butter and rub the butter with your fingers until in becomes coarse like grains of rice.

Add cream and stir until the dough is just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Keep your hands and the surface floured, as the dough will be fairly sticky.

Using your rolling-pin, roll out dough into a rough rectangle that’s about 8×16 and 3/4 inch thick.

Spread the fig butter onto the dough. Roll the dough, starting from the long side, into a log. Make sure the seam is at the bottom of the log.

Cut the log in half and place on a plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

When the logs are finished chilling, remove from your refrigerator and cut each half into 6 even pieces. You want the scones to be about 1 1/4 inch wide.

Place the scones face up on the baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

The scones should be golden brown on the bottom. Eat warm straight from the oven.

Fig Butter

I tweaked this recipe a bit as well. I didn’t have any port on hand, so I used Marsala. Worked like a charm.

What you’ll need~

1/2 cup raw sugar

2 whole cloves

1 star anise

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup Marsala, or Port

12 ounces dried Black Mission figs, stems removed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick butter, softened

Pour 1/4 cup water and the sugar in a small saucepan and gently stir with a wooden spoon incorporating the sugar. Don’t let the sugar splash up the sides of the pan.

Add the cloves and the star anise.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 8 minutes.

Add the red wine, Marsala, figs and cinnamon and cook over medium, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Reduce your heat to a simmer and cook figs for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spoon out the cloves and anise and pour the figs and liquid into your food processor. Process for about a minute.

Add the butter and process until the mixture is smooth.

Spread on to figgy scones, or store in the refrigerator for about a month.


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There are few things more historically sensual than proscuitto and figs. Bring the two together, and your senses merge the salty sweet flavors in a union that lingers on your tongue in a way I am sure the Romans were fond of.

I’ve never been a big fan of prosciutto, mostly because I don’t like ham. Not even a little bit. However, when I was introduced to prosciutto di Parma everything changed. I found prosciutto di Parma lacking in that chewy salty texture you find in American prosciutto. Di Parma is a bit drier and earthier then its American counterpart. The flavors are rich without being fatty. The Italians have been making prosciutto di Parma the same way for more than 2000 years using only two ingredients: pig and salt. Add fresh figs to the mix, and well, there’s quite of bit of closed-eye moaning as you pop the duet in your mouth.

As fig season is coming to a close I felt the urge to play with them one more time.  Once again, I turned to Judy Rodgers for inspiration. I’ve mentioned before that the Zuni Café Cookbook is not to be taken lightly. There are few corner-cutting tips in this book. Quite the opposite, in fact. Judy wants you to be involved with your food. Every recipe, every ingredient for that matter, has a story. She wants you to have your hands in the bowl experiencing each foods nuance with your fingertips. She wants you to become intimate with what you’re cooking. If you follow her recipes, you have little choice.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Prosciutto di Parma with Roasted Figs and Walnut Picada

What you’ll need:

8-10 ripe black mission figs, halved

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons Walnut Picada (recipe below)

4-6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma

Preheat broiler.

Gently roll halved figs in olive oil and place cut-side up on baking sheet. Warm for 3-5 minutes until the edges begin to caramelize. Lay prosciutto on plates.

Remove figs from oven, sprinkle with walnut picada and place on prosciutto. Roll figs in prosciutto and serve warm.

Walnut Picada

What you’ll need:

1 cup olive oil

1 ounce peasant bread, sliced about 1/2 an inch thick

15-20 walnuts

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 clove garlic

4-6 fresh mint leaves

Pour olive oil in an 8-inch skillet and warm on medium-low heat. Place bread in heated olive oil and heat till firm in the middle, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You want to make sure your olive oil does not smoke, so lower the heat as necessary. Once fried through, remove the bread and place it on paper towels to cool.

This is where it gets involved:

Break the bread into chunks, discarding any parts that are still doughy. Place chunks between two clean paper bags and use a rolling-pin to crush into breadcrumbs. I had to do this on my knees on my kitchen floor. Doing it this way absorbs much of the excess of  oil. Optionally, you can make your breadcrumbs in your food processor, but how fun is that?

Preheat oven to 325, place walnuts on baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze and massage them to help remove some of their skins.  Remove the nuts from the towel and finely chop to about 2 tablespoons.

Finely chop lemon zest, garlic and mint. Give it a quick sauté to warm and soften the garlic’s bite. Stir the mixture with the breadcrumbs and add salt as needed.

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Ode to the fig.

There is something provocative about figs. The ancient Greeks attributed their intoxicating beauty to Dionysus and their sexiness with Priapus. They are mysterious and mythical, and lest we forget, delicious.

Figs tell us that the dog days of summer have come and gone and the sun will soon be turning its head towards fall.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Portland still has a few warm days left in her and I seriously am not ready to start wearing socks again.

Adam’s mom scored this fruit for me. The plums, Asian pears, and of course, figs were all harvested the night before I photographed them. They still had the glow of the barely waning full moon on them.

This recipe was inspired by one found on the Food and Wine website. I adapted it with ingredients I had on hand. If I were to make it again I would have added coarse sea salt and shaved reggiano at the end to balance out the sweetness.

Pan Seared Figs, Plums and Asian Pears

What you’ll need:

About 6 or so fresh figs, halved

3-4 plums, halved and pitted

1-2 Asian pears, cut into small wedges

1/2 cup of honey

Juice of one lemon

Fresh thyme and mint

Heat honey and lemon juice in a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the fresh thyme and/or mint and reduce  for about one minute.

Place the pears in the skillet and let cook over high heat for about a minute. Add plums, cut side down for another 30 seconds to one minute.

Use a slotted spoon to remove pears and plums to a plate.

Place figs in skillet and heat until softened. Turn once.

Spoon figs and juices over pears and plums. Garnish with fresh mint or thyme and bit of crumbled goat cheese or feta.

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