California dried figs-golden Calimyrnas and deep purple Missions ? are favorites during the cooler months. These sweet, delicious fruits have a delicate crunch and are popular in stuffings, compotes, bar cookies and salads or eaten right out of the package.
Stuffing, once only served during the holidays, now graces the plates of Americans all year around. Here is a new twist that's easy and fun. Using traditional ingredients, add moist chunks of dried figs and simply shape the stuffing into balls and bake.
When it comes to dessert, simple and elegant rule the table. For ChocolateDipped Figs, use the highest quality chocolate with Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or SunMaid Figs and voilaa stunning dessert or an excellent gift.
15 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or SunMaid Mission or Calimyrna Figs
¾ cup each sugar and water
½ cup brandy (or ½ cup water mixed with 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract)
15 to 30 small pieces candied ginger, toasted nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds or macadamias) or chocolate
5 to 6 ounces semisweet, bittersweet or premium white chocolate, chopped
With sharp knife, cut small slit in bottom of each fig. In small saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in brandy and figs. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Drain figs, cool and dry thoroughly. Stuff one or two pieces of ginger, nuts and/or chocolate into each fig. Place chopped chocolate in 1cup glass measuring cup or small microwavesafe bowl. Heat on medium/50% power until almost melted, stirring after every 1 to 1½ minutes. Remove from oven and stir until melted. Hold stem of each fig and dip in melted chocolate. Place figs, stems up, on wax paperlined tray until chocolate sets. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Makes 15 figs.
Savory Fig Stuffing Balls
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped carrot
3 tablespoons butter, divided use
1 cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or SunMaid Mission or Calimyrna Figs
½ cup chopped, cooked, smoked lean sausage
¾ cup dry sherry or chicken broth
4 cups cubed herbseasoned dry bread stuffing mix
½ cup chopped toasted almonds
cup chopped fresh parsley
to cup chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 350 F. In large deep skillet or Dutch oven, stir and cook onion, celery, and carrot in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat until onion is soft. Stir in figs, sausage and sherry; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bread cubes, nuts, parsley and cup chicken broth. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in egg. Form rounded ½cup portions of stuffing into balls, packing tightly and moistening with additional chicken broth if needed. Place on greased baking sheet. Melt remaining butter and brush on balls. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and golden. Makes 8 to 10 balls.
For more sweet and savory recipes from the California Dried Fig experts, visit www.valleyfig.com.