Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #2, Take 2: Fig sauce

My failure at tomato mustard bothered me. And I had 2 pounds of fresh figs that I had bought at the bargain price of $2.99 for the lot at our Asian market this weekend.  The plan was to make goat cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped figs for a get together with friends last weekend, but I had made blueberry cobbler instead.

So it seemed to me I should take a second shot at Challenge #2.  Searching vintagerecipes.net I found a recipe for fig sauce from the 1919 International Jewish Cookbook.

Stew figs slowly for two hours until soft; sweeten with loaf sugar, about two tablespoons to a pound of fruit.  Add a glass pf port or other wine and a little lemon juice.  Serve when cold.

It seemed easy enough and I had the ingredients on hand, so without further ado, I diced the figs and got them on the stove. Two hours seemed a much more reasonable amount of time to cook than the thirty minutes in the tomato mustard recipe, plus the fig pieces were significantly smaller to begin with, so they cooked down faster.

After thirty minutes, the figs were already well on their way to breaking down.

Trying to decide what to put the fig sauce over was a bit of a challenge, because after my last physical, I am gluten-free.  But since, technically speaking, the challenge entry was the sauce, I decided on a paleo shortcake recipe from Confessions of an Overworked Mom.  Jay was skeptical because neither of us are a fan of commercial gluten free bread, but I decided to give it a try anyway on the reasoning that shortcake is supposed to be a bit crumbly to begin with.

The dough seemed a little off to me..  both a bit moist and a bit crumbly.

But I got eight reasonably round shortcakes made and popped them in the oven.

At that point, the stewing figs were smelling pretty heavenly.  I ended up adding half the sugar to the raw figs. realized my mistake and decided to add the rest in at the end, as per the recipe.  But when I make this recipe again, I think I will keep my precedent -stewing with a little sugar was mighty tasty.  I added the port wine and the remaining sugar and it was so delicious at that point, I forgot the lemon juice.

The fig sauce might not look terribly appealing but boy was it delicious!

The shortcakes came out of the oven looking  suitably shortcake-y and I regretted not being able to make some whipped cream as a topping.

Still, even without the whipped cream, Jay approved whole-heartedly.  The shortcake absorbed the sauce deliciously and the almond flour made for a rich taste, especially combined with the figs and port.

I am going to call the fig sauce an unqualified success and put the recipe in my standard repertoire.

The Challenge: #2 Soups, Sauces and Gravies
The Recipe: Fig Sauce from International Jewish Cookbook
The Date/Region: 1919   
Total time: 3.5 hours largely unattended
Total cost: $2.99 for fresh figs.  Everything else was on hand
How successful was it?  Totally.  It was delicious!

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