At the end of Summer in Lebanese villages, one could frequently see rows of figs drying in the sun on bamboo mats. Making this fig jam would eventually follow and jars of it would line-up the kitchen cupboard. This jam is not so much used the Western way like a topping with butter and bread like any ordinary jam, but more on its own merit as a sweet pause in the afternoon or evening. Eat it by the spoonful with a few pieces of walnuts. It has a fragrant and rich taste with the addition of anise, toasted sesame seeds, walnuts, and ground mastic aka meskeh.
Fig jamJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern December 25, 2020 Pantry, fig, jam, dried fig jam, preserves, homemade jam, pantry, lebanesefood,
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
1 lb dried figs, preferably light-colored figs
1 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
Water, as needed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp ground anise
4 or 5 mastic crystals, mashed-up in a mortar with a dash of sugar till powdery
- Using kitchen scissors, (or a good knife), cut-up the figs into small pieces and place them in a saucepan. Add the water to cover and the sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon juice and stir a bit.
- Add the anise and stir a bit, add the walnuts and stir a bit; let the jam cook over a very slow simmer until a candy thermometer reads 220F or until the syrup has reduced sufficiently. This process may take an hour or longer. Add the sesame seeds and stir to mix, then add the mastic and stir to mix. Remove from the stove and pour into sterilized jars. Seal and keep in the fridge.
NOTE: How to know if the jam is ready? The best test is to place a small saucer in the fridge for a few minutes; test the consistency of the jam by pouring 1/4 teaspoon on the saucer. If it runs then it needs longer time on the stove; if it looks jellyed, then it is ready. It should not move and be somewhat congealed.
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