This is such a crazy simple, quick, tasty, sophisticated, elegant dessert. I’d be incredibly happy if I was served this in a posh restaurant. And yet, I feel that most restaurants here are not quite there yet. Is it wrong that I often prefer my own cooking to eating out? If you love the kitchen and you love cooking and you take it seriously – eating out can be such a letdown. Expensive. Boring. Tasteless. Predictable.
This warm fig fruit salad is none of those things. It tastes like a fabulous restaurant in France – the kind you stumble across in the country. With a Michelin star – and a stone exterior. And a tasteful garden with lavender and herbs and a gorgeous old tree or two. A vineyard in the background. Perhaps a stone patio. Simple, black, wrought iron furniture. A beautiful umbrella for shade. Inside – a wood fire blazing and an ambiance that money cannot simply buy. The layers of time. Crisp white linens. Candles. Limestone walls. Lovely china. Decent silver. Immaculate glasses. Respectful, quiet formal service. A menu that speaks of someone who loves, really truly loves food.
I discovered this recipe when I was making fig jam and kept tasting the jam as it cooked and reduced. At some point, I realized that it would work as a hot fruit salad. Or cold. Or warm. Any way you choose to serve this, it works. Obviously warm in winter and cool in summer is logical.
I served this warm with whipped cream because it’s incredibly cold here right now in the midst of Canadian winter. (As you can see below – my beautiful dog Lola on frozen Lake Ontario.)
But you please go ahead and serve it however it suits you. A good vanilla ice cream would be nice. Atop shortbread would be good. Even on a slice of homemade sponge cake, topped with cream. You could try adding a drizzle of balsamic reduction. You could just eat in plain – out of the pan. It’s so fabulous you won’t be able to resist. The recipe is infinitely adaptable. Add more or less apple. More or less sugar. A bit of fresh ginger. Try honey, maple syrup. Try pears. A bit of lemon or orange. Perhaps blackberries. Use Grand Marnier in place of the Port wine – or maybe just good vanilla essence.
I happen to love dried figs. I expect fresh would be even better but where I live – fresh figs are imported and expensive and rare. The great thing about this recipe is that between the pantry and the freezer – I have everything on hand all the time.
Warm fig fruit salad in port wine
- 2-200gram packages dried figs (I used Turkish figs)
- 2 large cooking apples, peeled and cut in chunks (or use pears)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (not dried) cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup turbinado or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup port wine
Wash the figs, remove the stalks, and chop or snip in halves. Peel and chop the apples into chunks. Rinse the cranberries. Place the fruit, water, and sugar into a good-sized pot. Bring to the boil. Add the sugar. Simmer for about ten minutes minimum, stirring regularly until the apple has fallen, and the cranberries and figs have softened. It might take closer to twenty minutes depending on what temperature your simmer is. Add more water if it is looking too thick or dry.
Once the desired consistency is achieved and the fruit is soft but not yet melded entirely together into jam, remove from the heat and stir in the port wine. Serve as you like – hot, warm, or cold, along with whipped cream or ice cream, or a nice wedge of soft brie, etc.