Fresh figs and toasted walnuts over brie

Fresh figs and toasted walnuts over brie. (Mike Hensen/QMI Agency)

Fresh figs and toasted walnuts over brie. (Mike Hensen/QMI Agency)

Jill Wilcox, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:27 PM ET

Figs are a special occasion fruit that can pair with many types of cheeses, whether they are fresh or dried.

When I spot figs fresh, I like to cut them in quarters and show them off on top of a lovely piece of Brie. They are also terrific stuffed with a bit of quality blue cheese and wrapped in prosciutto.

When I have an abundance of fresh figs, I’ll combine them with onion and make a delicious fig and onion jam to accompany a lot of different cheeses and meats.

Luckily dried figs are readily available if you cannot find fresh.

This week I’m featuring a few recipes that use both.

Fresh Figs and Toasted Walnuts over Brie

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 lb.(500 g) wheel of Brie
  • 2 to 3 fresh figs quartered
  • ½ c. (125 ml toasted walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. (25 ml) honey
  • crackers

Directions:

  1. Place Brie on a plate.
  2. Scatter with figs and walnuts.
  3. Drizzle with honey.
  4. Serve with crackers and baguette slices. Serves eight to 10.

Fig Compote

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. (250 g) dried black mission figs
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) brown sugar
  • ½ c. (125 ml ) port
  • ½ c. ('125 ml) water
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) orange zest
  • ¼ c. (50 ml) orange juice
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh ginger
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the stems from the figs and discard. Chop the figs.
  2. Place the figs, butter, brown sugar, port and water in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook until the figs are very soft (about 15-20 minutes)
  5. Stir in orange zest and juice and cook a further 5 minutes. Makes two cups.
  6. Stir in ginger. Season with salt. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Fig and Onion Jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) butter
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced very thin
  • 6 fresh figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 tbsp. (25 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently until a light caramel color.
  2. Add the figs and cook until the figs are very soft and jam-like.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar.
  4. Add salt to taste. Serve cold or room temperature. Makes two cups.

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