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.
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