I confess I have been having a perfect figgy fest but here we are with my third and final fig recipe: today I am going to explain an authenticTurkish fig dessert, İncir Tatlısı, which is a complete classic at this time of the year. It is sweet and sticky and really fingerlickin’ good. Not only does it look great, especially if you are careful with presentation ie wipe off any excess syrup with a piece of kitchen paper, but it’s quick and easy- all you need is some dried figs and some walnuts and you are more than halfway there. I looked at several recipes and in the end preferred this one from Secrets of the Turkish Kitchen http://www.turkishkitchen.org/. The actual book is now out of print, more’s the pity, as it is a little gem.
- Place figs in hot water to soak for 1hr and then gently simmer in the same water until soft. Don’t overdo it: they shouldn’t be mushy.
- Drain and pass the cooking liquid through a sieve into another pan. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the cooking liquid.
- Continue cooking gently to create a concentrated fig syrup.
Set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, gently split open the figs with a sharp knife.
- Gently spoon in some kaymak and pop in a walnut.
- Serve drizzled with the fig syrup.
- Now I realise that kaymak (pron: ky-muk) may be a mystery ingredient to many of you: you will faint when I tell you what it is! Buffalo cream! Yes! Really! It is sold in rulo/ rolls in small plastic containers from pudding shops or delicatessens, well-stocked supermarkets but not with the regular cream and milk.
A word about dairy products while I am at it: don’t waste your time looking for creme fraiche, double or whipping cream, sour milk, or buttermilk as they don’t exist here per se. But I substitute with either yogurt and/or the basic cream which comes in a little packet from the supermarket.This latter cream can whip up quite nicely on a good day. Sometimes when it is misbehaving, I add some of the powdered krem şanti/creme chantilly, perhaps adding some milk too, depending on how thick it is, and the blend produces a delightful cream of the right consistency with a slightly sweet taste.
- When I was doing this recipe, I realised that the syrup wasn’t going to be as syrupy as I would like. Of course the answer lies in adding more sugar to the cooking liquid in step 2 above. I used 3 tbsp and probably next time, it will be 4!