Corsican Fig Jam
We love jam – on bread, a fresh crispy baguette, brioche, or toast. But mention Corsican fig jam, and it takes on another delicious and serious role: it’s served primarily with strong cheese.
Perhaps you know that my husband, Antoine, is Corsican (Colonna in Corsica is like Smith in England). Cheeses from his “Island of Beauty” (l’île de beauté) are made from sheep’s milk or goat’s milk and many of them are, well, rather pungent. So the addition of fig jam is the perfect marriage on the cheeseboard since its sweetness helps put out the fire.
What Corsican Fire?
I say fire, since some Corsican cheeses can be so powerful that Antoine’s grandmother used to keep the robust ones under the chimney, letting their aromatic fumes drift off around the mountain village. She claimed that if she kept one in her fridge, she would have to throw it out: the fridge not the cheese!
As a naïve newcomer to the village, I was introduced to Casgiu Merzu by Antoine’s grinning uncle, or Tonton. Rather than be Jill, I’ll be Frank: it’s the most dangerous cheese I know on this planet since it looks like an innocent little potted cheese with a knife or spoon. Imagine roquefort but multiply its strength by about ten. This has to be the cheese that exploded the boat in Asterix in Corsica. I downed the whole bowl of fig jam!
Fig Jam and Corsican Chimneys
Now that it’s such a glorious fig season to see out the summer, I’m preserving the figs as much as I can so that we can enjoy the cheeseboard en famille in Corsica again this Christmas.
I wonder if Father Christmas would dare to come down the chimney?
Yet More Jam!
Just as I was about to post this fig jam recipe, I’ve had an exciting delivery thanks to the lovely people at Terraillon. It’s a digital jam scale! Isn’t that clever? (see my review here) I’m off to stock up on more end of summer fruits and try it out for you for another of my favourite preserves next week. You’ll see from the recipe below that it takes up to 2 hours to cook the fruit, which is longer than I would cook other jams but the result is a beautifully rich, dark colour and the flavours of the figs just shine.