Tired of berry jam on your bagels or bread? Try this Easy Fresh Fig Compote. It’s not as sweet, a cinch to make and perfect with ricotta or cream cheese. You could even use it as an appetizer on crackers with or without the dairy layer.
Earlier this month I rhapsodized about fresh figs. I’m still on that page. My inspiration was a lovely two-pound box of fresh figs from Trader Joe’s. Truth be told, it was the second box I bought – the price of learning that fresh figs do not keep for two weeks, even refrigerated.
Anyway, now I know that and a lot more about fresh figs. This guide from The Spruce seems pretty much on target, except for the part about refrigerating. The Spruce says not to, while I believe it’s OK to refrigerate them for a few days. This blogpost that says you can refrigerate for up to 5 days. In my limited experience, 3-4 days is the max for good taste and texture.
Please note – this post is not sponsored by Trader Joe’s. In fact, I have never worked for that company. But I do shop there. I’m especially smitten by the store’s decision to carry season-specific merchandize like fresh figs. That policy does have a down-side. Trader Joe’s considers its store brand all-butter puff pastry – which is quite good and much less expensive than the only other all-butter brand sold elsewhere – a seasonal product. But if I have to stock up on puff pastry near the winter holidays in order to get fresh figs when they’re in season, that’s a good trade in my book.
Anyway, back to figs. My Fig and Ginger Upside Down Cake, left me with an extra pound of fresh figs. The next morning, I wanted to turn them into a breakfast treat. Ina Garten’s fig preserves gave me a start. Using the same ingredients plus a bit of salt, I turned that concept into a breakfast-friendly fig compote.
Then, grabbing a bagel and some ricotta, I created this scrumptious, not-too-sweet treat. Homemade ricotta would have been better, but I only had store-bought. The bottom line – no matter how you enjoy it, this fig compote is simple and delicious.
PS – You can freeze fresh figs and make this compote later in the season. Or make and freeze the compote now. Then defrost and enjoy it long after fresh figs are gone from the grocery and farmers markets for the season.
Fresh Fig Compote
An easy and delicious not-too-sweet compote made from fresh (or frozen) figs. Perfect on bread, a bagel, or a roll with ricotta or cream cheese.
- 1 pound fresh figs, stems removed, halved lengthwise
- 1/2-1 orange, zested and juiced (You'll need 1/2 teaspoon of zest and 2 tablespoons of juice. Depending on size, that requires 1/2-1 orange.)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large pinch salt (About 1/8-1/4 teaspoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Add the figs, sugar, about 1 teaspoon of orange zest, and 2 tablespoons of orange juice to a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil covered. Then uncover, stir and boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally. Once the compote is well-mixed and the figs are falling apart, take it off the heat and add the salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Let the compote cool down a bit, then serve or refrigerate. If refrigerating, bring it back to room temperature when serving.
When the figs are only halved, the compote has quite a chunky texture. If you prefer a smoother texture, cut the figs in quarters or even smaller pieces.