Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fig Preserves and Cheese on Toast Drizzled with Honey

I was lucky enough to be invited down to NYC over the New Year Holiday.  I got to see some good music and spend some quality time with great people.  On our way out we hit up a little bakery, possibly the most exciting thing about going to NYC is finding great bakeries. Anyway, we were in Brooklyn in a rush to catch the train and found a gem, Tazza Bakery. It offered a baguette with figs, ricotta, and honey. I saw that and didn't think twice.

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a batch of fig preserves to give as a gift along with some brie, homemade seeded crackers (recipe from Peter Reinhart), wrapped up on a ceramic plate that I made. It was a sure hit, and everything tasted great together. To my luck I made some extra preserves for myself. The other day the light bulb went on above my head and I put together a fig, cottage cheese and honey on toast. I would normally have preferred a good ricotta, but this cottage cheese was a lot drier than the typical so it worked just fine.

Quick Fig Preserves Recipe (makes about 3 cups):

2 cups dried Mission figs, chopped, other varieties will work just fine too
1 med apple, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup sugar (to taste)
1 tbl lemon juice

Place the figs, apple, and lemon juice in a medium sauce pot. Add enough water to easily cover the fruit. You can soak the figs over night to make this process quicker. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on med-low. Add the sugar. Stir frequently to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom. At the point, the figs will absorb a lot of water. You may need to add more water as they cook. If you add too much water, don't fret, you can easily cook it off. The apple contains a lot of pectin and will help the preserves thicken so no need for added pectin. Plus, it adds a little dimension to the mix.

Once it reaches a desired consistency, and taste to your sweetness, place in a clean jar with lid. Store in the fridge for up to a week, and easily longer assuming you've added enough sugar.

This taste very good with cheese, especially brie, goat, or a sharp chedder. It is possibly better topped on vanilla ice cream, stirred into yogurt, or dolloped on your oatmeal. Let me know if you think of anything else.

For the Toast:

If you have a fresh loaf don't toast, if it's getting a little dry toast it.
Smear a little fresh ricotta, or a dry cottage cheese
Spoon on some of those preserves
Drizzle with honey to your liking

A truly simple and very satisfying breakfast or snack.

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