These SPICED FIGS are the realization of something I have wanted to do since 1966. I first tasted them at Chalone Vineyard on my first visit there in May, 1966. Dick Graff, who was the then new owner of Chalone (I became a partner in the venture shortly after,) had asked me to come down with him to see Chalone since Corti Brothers had just purchased the first vintage of Chalone, the 1960, and had offered it for sale at a tasting we put on in Sacramento. Dick was at the tasting since he was taking classes at UC Davis. So I drove down with Dick for the weekend at Chalone.
There we had the spiced figs, spiced with nothing more than cloves and stick cinnamon, two sugars and white vinegar along with some yoghurt for dessert that night. I found them exotic and really tasty. So he gave me the recipe. But since it takes three days of bringing to temperature then cooling off, I really never bothered making them, but I have thought of them ever since.
This year we started buying fresh figs from Harvey Correia, who has a fig collection near the Sacramento River at Rio Vista. He sells fig cuttings, but figs come with the trees. We sold his ripe figs, of many varieties–the number he grows is amazing--as fresh fruit. When Harvey said he had enough to supply us through the season, I asked Janet MacDonald of The Good Stuff Preserves here in Sacramento if she would like to try making a batch. And so, she has.
Packed in 12oz jars, they are ready for you to taste. We only made a small amount this time, not knowing what the reaction would be. Consequently, we do not have a lot to sell. If you like them, we will make more next year. They keep very well and--even a couple of years old--improve with silkiness of texture and harmony of flavor.
I suggest having them with well made vanilla ice cream or traditional, natural yoghurt so that there is relief from their sweetness. They could accompany a baked, smoked ham very well. But they are meant to be sweet.
CORTI BROTHERS SPICED FIGS 12oz