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I don’t like Fig Newtons.  It’s not for lack of trying.  I seem to recall that my dad really liked them when I was young.  His opinion was held in such high esteem that I thought surely I was missing something. If I just tried them one more time maybe I would like them, but all to no avail…until eventually I gave up trying.

For years I thought my disdain for these cookies meant that I didn’t like figs. Strange, then, that two of my favorite recipes in the last ten years have contained dried figs….but there were so many other things going on in those recipes that I was certain this did NOT mean that I liked figs.

Enter my friend Lauren.  She is one of the most beautiful people I know and has impeccable taste.  So when she started waxing poetic about her discovery of fresh figs last summer, it gave me pause. Was I missing something? I was assured they are nothing like Fig Newtons.  Could fresh figs be a culinary delight I’ve been missing out on due to an erroneous childhood assumption? Still I did not act on this question immediately.  A full year went by and I can honestly say that between my first child entering kindergarten (and subsequently graduating from kindergarten!), and my youngest taking her first steps, cutting her first teeth, and a trip to Europe thrown in there somewhere, the figs were long forgotten.

Until this week when I noticed Costco had beautiful looking figs. I remembered Lauren’s enthusiasm and decided I would take a chance and pick some up. Never mind that the smallest amount you could purchase was 2lbs and I may very well not like them.  I live in Utah.  My produce options are limited.  I was certain no other grocer would be carrying fresh figs.  It was 2lbs or nothing.  Go big or go home I guess.

My gamble paid off.  As it turns out, fresh figs are delicious!  Who knew?!? (Well, Lauren, apparently!) My delight in this discovery sent me in search of fun ways to use these figs.  The following recipe is a ‘small efforts for big rewards’ kind of dish. It is easy to make and a joy to eat.  It is simple, elegant, and showcases just three ingredients wonderfully.  It is from the California Fresh Figs website and I highly recommend you give it a try.

Chocolate-Dipped Rum-Infused Fresh Figs

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 large fresh California figs
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2 1/2 ounces white, semisweet, or bitter chocolate
PROCEDURE

Prick skins on figs; place in bowl and pour rum over. Let stand overnight.

These are my happy figs sitting in their rum bath!

Drain, reserving liquid. Dry figs with paper towel. Melt chocolate in a small, heavy saucepan and cool slightly. Holding each fig by stem, dip in melted chocolate. Arrange on plate lined with wax paper. Store in refrigerator till chocolate sets.

To serve, simmer reserved liquid in small saucepan until thick and syrupy. Allow to cool; divide and spoon onto 4 individual dessert plates. Arrange one fig on each plate.

I found that there was not enough liquid left to make much of a syrup.  I took two figs, cut them in half, slightly “squished” them,  and placed them in a saucepan.  I then poured a small amount of rum over them, brought it to a boil to infuse it with some of the juices, and strained.  I put the strained liquid back into the saucepan and reduced until syrupy.  It turns out I have excellent decision making skills when dessert is on the line. This worked perfectly.  Here is a picture of the ‘fruits’ of my labor.  I can neither confirm nor deny whether I have had TWO of these this evening! ;)  

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