The fig and I have an on-again off-again relationship. He is an unassuming, dumpy little gentleman if I ever saw one. At least that's what I thought until he got up the nerve to flash me. The audacity! I just can't look at him the same anymore--not after being exposed to all that eye candy.
Our love affair was brief. He took me for brunch and we dined on pancakes. He treated me to decadent desserts (and oh he can be so sweet-tempered smothered in chocolate). Then things headed south. He got cloying, sugar-coating all his words. More than once he got just a little too ripe with me.
I was at fault too. I was fickle. He caught me checking out the pears in the grocery aisle. I brushed him off to spend quality time with the apples. But we can never stray from each other for long. He always finds his way back to my kitchen table.
I will admit I was wary of making this jam. Figs and balsamic? Peppercorns? I couldn't imagine the taste, which made me suspicious. Thankfully, my curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a try. Oh, I am so glad I did. Figs and balsamic are like a match made in heaven. With jams, I generally get concerned that the sugar will overtake the jam and drown out the flavors, but with this one the peppercorns and lemon juice really keep that in check (and add a nice kick too!). If you are wary of this fig and balsamic jam like I was, you are going to miss out on a uniquely delicious flavor combination.
Fig and Balsamic Jam
Adapted from Kitchen Konfidence
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
Yields about 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cut a small square of cheesecloth and place the peppercorns in the center. Fold up the sides and tie off the bundle with string or kitchen twine.
In a large saucepan, bring the chopped figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, peppercorn bundle, and lemon juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally, breaking up the large chunks of fig.
Simmer until the jam begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
Once your jam has reached your desired consistency, remove the jam from the heat and let cool. Remove the bundled peppercorns and toss. Once the mixture is completely cooled, store the jam in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Spread on toast or use it to top vanilla ice cream!