Spiced Fig and Orange Caramel
This spiced fig caramel is ideal for gift-giving, if you can bear to part with it. Delicious over vanilla ice cream or plain cake, or vanilla ice cream on plain cake, or served in a ramekin with plain sugar cookies and a small knife with which to spread the caramel. From Julie Van Rosendaal
4 - 5 dried figs, stems removed and finely chopped
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
Zest and juice of an orange
1/2 c. whipping cream
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Pinch of allspice (optional)
In a small saucepan, cover the figs with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the figs are very soft. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside while you make the caramel.
In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the sugar and water and set over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, without stirring, for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is a deep amber colour. Occasionally swirl the pan and brush the sides down with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Remove from heat and carefully add the orange zest, juice, whipping cream and spices – the mixture will bubble madly. Turn heat to low, return the pan to the burner and whisk until smooth. Stir in figs and cool completely. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; re-warm on the stove or in the microwave. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.