This jam recipe is from the cookbook from Ad Hoc, my favorite Napa restaurant. It’s Thomas Keller’s more casual restaurant, and he uses this jam in his Fig-Stuffed Roast Pork Loin. It’s an amazing dish, which I’ll hopefully put on here sometime soon, but this jam is amazing on far more than that. It’s great on brie on a cracker. It adds great flavor to a grilled cheese sandwich. I’d even venture to say it’s great over vanilla ice cream, though I haven’t tried that particular pairing myself yet. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, by adding lemon juice for safer canning, and vanilla extract because… vanilla!
Like most jams, this is a pretty simple recipe. First wash and chop all your figs.
Next, add sugar, balsamic vinegar, peppercorn sachet, and lemon juice.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to break up large pieces of fig, and cook until the jam reaches 200°F. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat, and add the vanilla extract.
Ladle into sterilized jars, wipe around each rim to remove any spilled jam, put lids and rings on, and add the jars to a boiling water bath with a jar lifter or tongs (jar lifters and lid lifers are wonderful tools for any canner, I highly suggest getting them). Make sure you use a canning rack or other method to insure that the jars do not touch the bottom of the pot. Process for 10 minutes, then use tongs or a jar lifter to remove each jar and place onto a towel on the counter. If you place the jar directly onto a cold counter, it can crack. Let cool, and after an hour make sure you can’t press down the center of the lid of the jar and hear a popping sound. If you can, it hasn’t sealed properly, so you need to re-process, or refrigerate it and use immediately.
Balsamic Fig Jam
- 6 pounds fresh figs
- 4 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups balsamic vinegar
- 3 teaspoon black peppercorns tied into a sachet
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Wash the figs, remove the stems, and coarsely chop them.
In a large saucepan, add the figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, peppercorn sachet, and lemon juice. Bring them to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring to break up large pieces of fig, until the jam reaches 220°F, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and stir well. If you prefer smoother jam, you can use an immersion blender to puree the jam. Ladle into sterilized jars, wipe the rims, add lids and rings, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.