Friday, August 15, 2014

A Taste of Paradise

Ready to pick... Desert King Figs, Denman Island, BC
The delicate fig...a sweet gift from nature! About 10 years ago I was thrilled to receive a local 'Desert King' sapling as a gift. Every year I anxiously wait for the green-skinned fruit to ripen. To become plump and syrupy sweet, hanging heavily downward. When ripe, the fruit will yield to light pressure and be moist inside, with translucent pink flesh containing tiny edible seeds. Fresh figs are very perishable, so I am lucky my tree is still relatively small and I can 'keep up' to what it has produced so far by eating 3-4 fresh figs a day!
When I have more than I can eat fresh, drying in a dehydrator is a great way to preserve the harvest for winter. I cut them in half and dehydrate until they are still leathery with no moisture or 'sticky' feel. Last Christmas I made 'Fig and Cognac Chocolate Truffles' for gifts, (For the Love of Food~pg. 41), by finely dicing dried figs and letting them soak overnight in Cognac before incorporating into the ganache. The result, nothing short of heavenly!
My hands down favorite appy is still 'Prosciutto Roasted Figs'. For the recipe, see my cookbook 'For the Love of Food' page 173.
Figs are technically and inverted flower. They are high in fibre and have a unique flavor that pairs well with bold flavored foods such as dark chocolate, duck, Gorgonzola, olives and prosciutto. 
Now is the time to enjoy this delicate gem fresh from the tree or prepared into a delectable appetizer or dessert!
Bon Appetit!

Photo ~ by Sally Rae, my fig tree on Denman Island

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