Last year I found many recipes for this Greek dessert on the internet. I’ve patiently waited for the winter to come so that I may finally try this recipe.
This post is a long time coming. I haven’t had a sweet fig since I got back from Greece in September of last year.
To everyone else who hasn’t had the pleasure, I hope you get to taste a fresh, ripe fig. Not one that’s been transported cross-country from California to the eastern seaboard or from the Mediterranean to north and western Europe.
I compare the taste of a fresh fig to the pleasure of a biting into a vine-ripe tomato, a just ripe grape or a perfectly orange, ripe and aromatic mango.
Last summer, I tried looking for recipes that used fresh figs and there aren’t many. I tried a few that would highlight and complement the fig’s natural taste. It’s winter, and those recipes will have to wait until later this summer.
In the meantime, let’s play with dried figs. Here’s an ingredient that captures the epitome of summer. A fig that’s picked at just the right time, dried by the same sun that gave it life, flavour, beauty. To be enjoyed anew during the long winter months until Summer teases us again for just a few months.
I love figs. Greece has lots of figs – free figs! Greece has fig trees the way Canada has maple trees. Neighbors encourage to you pick-off their fig trees before they over-ripen and attract bees and such.
This recipe is said to be offered in many popular tavernas in Athens. Here I have figs poached in a Greek fortified wine (Mavrodaphne) and spices familiar to Greek cuisine and a bed of fresh, mildly savory Manouri cheese.
Figs In Mavrodaphne With Manouri (Î£Ï…ÎºÎ± ÎºÎ±Î¹ ÎœÎ±Ï…ÏÎ¿Î´Î±Ï†Î½Î· Î¼Îµ Î¼Î±Î½Î¿Ï…ÏÎ¹)
12 dried Calimyrna (Greek) figs
2/3 cup Mavrodaphne wine (or any other fortified, red wine)
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 cup Greek thyme honey
1 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp. corn starch
mint for garnish
some slices of Manouri cheese
- In a bowl, place the figs inside and pour enough boiling water to cover the figs. Cover the bowl and allow the figs to soften for an hour.
- Discard the water and add the softened figs to a pot along with the wine, cinnamon, cloves and honey.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 30-45 until the figs are plump and tender and the sauce has reduced to half.
- Mix your cold water with the corn starch and stir it in to the sauce. You should now have a a sweet, thick, dark syrup. If you need to sweeten it a bit, add another splash of Mavrodaphne.
- Arrange your slices of Manouri cheese on a plate and carefully place the figs on top and spoon over some of the syrup over the figs.
- Garnish with mint and serve warm.
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