|©2011, Monika Roe|
The California Fig Advisory Board sponsored a Fig Recipe Contest over at TheyDrawandCook.com. I jumped at the chance to illustrate another recipe for this great site but this time I decided to take on the challenge of developing my own recipe!
For my recipe I wanted something unusual. I also had to use dried figs since fresh figs are out of season. Figs go wonderfully with honey, are delicious in jam or matched with cheese, bacon or prosciutto but what would be really different? Then it came to me out of the blue. I would make homemade fig SODA POP! "It's gonna be great! Fizzy Figgy Soda Pop!" I told my friends and family. They were doubtful.
How do you make homemade soda pop? It starts with a flavored simple syrup made from cooking down sugar, water and an extract or fruit juice. The cooled syrup is added to club soda or other neutral carbonated water.
But I didn't have fresh figs to juice. Hmmm... this would not stop me. I would soften the dried figs up in hot water and put those into my food processor, pulverizing them until I had a semblance of a liquid. At this point I was still optimistic. "This is WORKING!!!", I thought.
I cooked the pureed figs with the sugar water. It was delicious but the consistency wasn't exactly simple syrup-ish. It more like a loose jam or sauce. "This might NOT be working!!!", I thought, but spooned some into a glass anyway and mixed it with club soda.
Immediately the fig seeds floated to the top. Not appetizing. Then the fig sauce refused to mix convincingly with the soda because no matter how long you puree figs, they are not going to be liquified. At least not by my food processor! So that left tiny lumps of fruit lurking in the bottom of the glass. It was ugly and not at all appetizing. "I can make this work. This is still fine!", I thought. But no, it wasn't fine and there're no way I was going to pretend it was fine even if I had the perfect, award-winning illustration for it already worked out in my mind.
Oh that illustration was beautiful I tell you. It would've had EVERYONE around the world making yucky-weird fig soda — and then coming after me with pitchforks and lighted torches!
So now I had 2 cups of a yummy fig creation staring at me from the kitchen counter. It would be a great sauce to top ice cream with but I wanted it to do more. That's when I decided that the next day I would try swirling it into a brownie mix.
And that WORKED!!! It worked!!! The fig sauce bakes into the brownies and really enhances the deep, dark chocolately flavor while adding a sweet, subtle fig taste. It's complex, it's luscious, it's fig-licious! Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it too!
1 18.4 oz box of brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe)
1 recipe of fig sauce (follows)
1. Make brownie mix (or your recipe) according to directions.
2. Before it goes into the oven, spoon 1 cup of fig sauce into 4 thick rows over brownie mix.
3. Drag a toothpick through the lines of sauce swirling it into the brownie batter or making a chevron design.
4. Bake brownies according to package directions.
5. To serve, drizzle or put a spoonful of remaining sauce on a plate and top with a brownie and some ice cream if you’re feeling extra decadent!
Makes about 2 cups
20 dried Black Mission Figs (stems removed)
1 3/4 cups water (divided)
1 cup granulated sugar
1. Put 3/4 cup water in microwave for 1 minute. Add figs to water. Let steep for 5 minutes or until figs are soft.
2. Pour the entire steeped mixture into a food processor and whirl until smooth.
3. Combine pureed figs, remaining 1 cup of water and 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
4. Put the finished sauce to the side and let cool.
See more fig recipes and the contest winners at TheyDrawandCook.com!