Friday, November 15, 2013
Fresh Fig Compote
When I was a small girl, my parents bought their first home, a fixer-upper. It was a rather wild place and they set about taming it. The yard was overgrown and included a couple of abandoned "out buildings". I believe the one I adopted as a playhouse had been a storage shed, with two rooms and a primitive wooden latch which spun on a nail to keep the door closed. There was also an old hen house; that one was unmistakable.
While workers came to do extensive work on the actual house, I set about exploring the very large yard which was on a dead-end street right next to some woods. As carpenters dropped scraps of lumber, I confiscated them. For my playhouse, I made old wire spools into tables. I made "seats", "lamps" and more. With an old straw broom from the shed, I swept pine straw into a perimeter for my yard.
Nearby was a great fig bush laden with delightful, ripe, purple, succulent figs. I would sit underneath the shade of that bush, in the hot Alabama afternoon sun, and help myself to fig after fig. I can remember my fascination as I tore open those figs with my bare hands, to reveal the peculiar pink insides which were oozing with nectar. I would eat the soft flesh, toss the rind onto the ground and pull another. And another.
I was so sad when Mama had those unsightly old sheds torn down. I was heartbroken when she cut down my fig bush. I cried and I begged but she would have nothing of it. That old abominable thing did not fit into her proper landscaping plans.
In fairness, my parents really did turn that old house and property into a show place. But I will never forget the precious hours of innocent happiness in my playhouse shack and the aroma and taste of those tree-ripened figs still warm from the sun.
Fresh Fig Compote
8 ounces fresh figs
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
Pinch of salt
Cut stems off the figs and cut into quarters.
Combine butter, brown sugar, and honey in a medium cast iron skillet. Cook, over high heat, stirring until syrup begins to bubble. Add figs and stir to coat well.
Place the plan under the broiler for about 5 minutes to caramelize the figs.
Delicious served over oatmeal, French toast, pancakes, toasted pound cake, or ice cream.