Dried Fig Compote
This preserve recipe, from Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is a balm for those mourning the passing of summer's fleeting fresh fig season. It can be made any time of year and has a deep, sophisticated flavor. It's best served with stinky cheeses, though some also enjoy it drizzled over steel cut oats on chilly mornings.
INGREDIENTS2 lbs dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup bourbon
3 whole star anise
8 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
Peel of 1 orange
Peel of 1 lemon, plus ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
INSTRUCTIONS1. Place figs, bourbon and 4 cups boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl; cover surface with a plate to submerge figs. Let sit until figs are plump, about 1 hour; set aside.
2. Heat star anise and cardamom pods in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add figs with their soaking liquid, sugar, salt, orange and lemon peel, and juice; bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 20-25 minutes.
3. Divide finished compote into prepared half pint jars, apply clean lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and allow to cool completely before handling.