Figs are absolutely wonderful.
I was raised on Fig Newtons and they were what I thought figs were…and in 1965 that was good enough. I could eat them by the case and never tire of the magic sweetness, and complex heady flavor of the fig.
It took me until I was in my 20s to actually try a real, dried fig…. and it was years after that before I tried a fresh one.
Dang. There was no turning back. Thing is that figs have a flavor that reminds me of dark chocolate, velvet, and long summer nights… it is just so deep and unending. Hard to explain. How do you explain the flavor of a fig?
Thing is that figs are more versatile than most people give them credit for. Yep. There IS life after Fig Newtons. You have to be careful that the flavors you put with the figs complement them and are not overwhelmed. That is the key..and it isn’t easy to do.
The Balsamic in these figs adds sweet tang and depth that balances the sweetness of the figs. The pepper adds another layer of flavor that leaves your tongue dancing. Once you put the fig mixture on a bed of cream cheese, and top with a little more cheese…well dang.
So you have these heavenly flavors but no texture contrasts. Think about this..all of that figgy goodness on a crunchy croustade. Now your talkin’. How easy is this appetizer? Very easy… and you can easily make this ahead and just spread it on the croustades a before serving time.
Elegant, easy, delicious. This is a recipe that you will use in so many ways it isn’t funny. Have fun with it…and try not to eat all the fig spread before you have the croustades made.
Balsamic and Black Pepper Figs
- 1 lb dried figs, chopped
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBS. brown sugar
- 2 tsp cracked black pepper, or more to taste
- Place figs in a pan with the balsamic, sugar, water, and black pepper.
- Simmer until figs are soft and liquid is absorbed.
- Taste and check for flavor.
Serious? Is that it? It sure is. Just spread baguette toasts with cream cheese, then a dollop of fig, and sprinkle with feta. It is absolutely amazing. Sweet and sour and tangy and peppery; rich and creamy, and crunchy.
Great for those holiday appetizer buffets you will be attending before you know it. Great for parties. Great for snacks… Just do it.
images: Marye Audet