Fig Compote

A good fig is sweet and juicy, reminiscent of caramel and red wine, with tiny seeds that pop when you bite into one. If you have the good fortune to have a farmers’ market (or a neighbor’s tree) nearby, use ripe fruit at the height of its season in late summer or early fall. Choose your favorite type of fig, or mix some varieties for additional flavor and color. Since ripe figs need very little cooking, I quickly toss them in a honey-butter syrup and then caramelize them under the broiler. This jammy compote was designed to be spooned over Barley Porridge, but it’s equally good atop pancakes, waffles, or even vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound fresh figs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Method

  1. Preheat your broiler. Cut the stem off each fig, slice the fig in quarters, and set aside.
  2. Add the butter, brown sugar, and honey to a cast-iron pan or a medium broilerproof sauté pan. Cook for about 1 minute over high heat, stirring frequently, until the syrup begins to bubble. Add the figs and stir to coat them with the syrup.
  3. Place the pan under the broiler to caramelize the figs. Protecting your hand with an oven mitt or towel, swirl the pan a few times over the next 5 minutes to prevent the sugar and figs from burning. The figs are done when the syrup is thickened slightly and amber in color, and the edges of the figs are dark and glossy. Remove the pan from the broiler and serve the figs while they’re still warm.