Figs in Pedro Ximénez
Pedro Ximenez is that syrupy dark sherry that smells of dried fruits, sun, and molasses-tinged caramel. I cannot taste it without thinking figs, raisins, prunes, almonds, and fall and winter in Spain. Alas, it is not always easy to find. However, Shiraz is another wine you can use here. These figs are so intense you really can’t eat more than a few, but they’re great to have on hand to serve with a mound of ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, or coffee ice cream. They will keep refrigerated for weeks.
Serves6 to 8
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity, sharp, winey
Type of Dishcompote, dessert, fruit
- 1½ cups dried white Calimyrna or Mission figs, or a mixture
- 1½ cups Pedro Ximenez sherry or Shiraz
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Creme fraiche
Snip the stems off the figs. Put them in a small saucepan with the sherry, honey, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the figs are soft and succulent, about 45 minutes. (Even though they’ll feel tender when you press one with a finger before that much time has passed, they do need to cook for the full amount of time.) Turn off the heat and remove the figs to a serving dish with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid behind. Cut some or all of the figs in half to expose their seeds.
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook until bubbles cover the surface and the texture is syrupy when you tilt the pan-about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup over the figs, cover the dish, and let stand until you’re ready to serve them. Place a few figs in individual small bowls for each person and serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche around them. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.
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2010 Deborah Madison