A bold jam made of Calabiran chilis and fresh figs that delivers a sweet heat in the most delicious way. Perfect for toast, crostini, charcuterie boards, desserts, or on a spoon!
This is my jam – literally. But I’m sharing my recipe so you can jam with me!
If you’ve ever watched anything that Bobby Flay was on, you know 99.9% of the time he’s going to use and or mention Calabrian Chilis. Rightly so as they are AMAZING! I’ll get more into those babies later. For now, I totally want to gush about this jam!
Over the years my love of spicy foods has grown exponentially. I honestly think it was all due to the press trip I did a few years back with a client throughout Mexico.
However, it’s not just spicy Mexican foods I love. Oh no, give me Gochujang or the like and I’m in heaven. Sometimes though, you need that ying-yang pairing when it comes to spicy foods. I like that sweet heat balance probably the most. Even in my bbq sauces. I want that bold kick with a backend of sweetness. It’s almost like a cooling effect.
Thus enter in figs…
I ADORE fresh figs. However, when I lived in Pittsburgh in the middle of nowhere it was impossible to ever get fresh figs at the local grocery store. I’d have to call a grocer over an hour away, ask if they had them, and then beg them to hold me a bunch while I drove a bajillion miles to get them. Fortunately, when I’d give them my name, some “knew” who I was and were more than happy to oblige.
Then again, I never showed up empty-handed. The managers loved my chocolate chunk cookies. So they’d hold me a bunch and I’d give them sweets to say thank you.
Let’s Make Jam!
This recipe only requires 6 ingredients and is done in under an hour. It’s probably one of my top 3 favorite jams ever!
- Fresh Figs – I prefer black mission as they are the sweetest
- Sweetener – I use both granulated sugar and honey or agave. I’ve tried all sugar and it’s ok but the honey or agave just adds a little something ‘extra’
- Thyme – I use fresh lemon thyme but you can use English thyme if that’s all you have. It adds a beautiful earthy flavor to the jam
- Acid – you really need the lemon juice to help balance out the sweetness and the heat from the Calabrian chilis
- Heat – The Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste is potent so a little goes a long way
- To a medium pot, add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, thyme, can Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat stirring until the sugar melts. You definitely want to stir otherwise it will burn.
- Once the sugar is all melted, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat stirring every few minutes until the mixture has thickened and reduced.
- Once the mixture has reduced, fish out the thyme sprigs and discard. At this point, you have 2 choices with regards to texture.
- Leave it thick and chunky, OR
- Grab an Immersion Blender and process it to desired consistency.
I liked that mid-chunk/mid-smooth consistency.
- Transfer to a container and cover. Store in the fridge for ~2 weeks.
This is a thicker jam so if you want thinner, simply shorten the time you spend on letting it reduce. I prefer mine so it has some body to it.
Preserving Fig Jam
You can absolutely preserve this using a water-bath method. Since this is such a small batch recipe, you may want to quadruple it.
When I can my jams and jellies, I typically let them set in the water bath canner for ~10 minutes, and then when I remove them, flip the cans upside down on a cooling rack for at least an hour. Don’t ask me why I flip them upside down – that’s just how Mom did it so I do it too.
Ways to Serve Calabrian Fig Jam
I’d be totally lying if I said “on a spoon” as I totally ate it that way. Guys this is SO DELICIOUS! Like even better than I expected! But here are some ways I’ve used it.
- Charcuterie Board – serve this with some soft cheeses and crostini, maybe a slice of prosciutto as well
- Sandwich Condiment – This between 2 toasted slices of my Everything Focaccia bread, fresh burrata, Soprasatta, and roasted tomatoes
- Pizza – make a white pizza topped with tomatoes, artichokes, bacon, and then finish it with dollops of lemon ricotta and this jam
- Ice Cream Topping – yes, really! This warmed then pour over vanilla bean ice cream with some toffee crunch or even a crushed sugar cone is incredible! That sweet-heat juxtaposition is phenomenal!
Using Dried Figs
I know someone’s going to ask as fresh figs are a seasonal thing.
I’ve not made this with dried figs however it should be as simple as adding about 2 cups of water to the mixture. The water will help reconstitute them though the reduction time may take a bit longer.
And the texture may not be quite the same as using fresh figs but the taste should be rather similar.
- 2 pounds fresh black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup honey or agave
- 1 1/2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
- 6–7 sprigs of fresh thyme (lemon thyme preferably) or 1 tsp dried
- 2 tsp – 1 Tbl Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste *this really depends on how spicy/hot you want it
- In a medium pot, add the sugar, honey, figs, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and chili pepper paste over medium-high heat slowly stirring to combine while the sugar melts.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and allow it to cook until it’s reduced and thickened, ~35-45 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking or burning.
- Once the mixture has reduced (remember it will thicken up while it cools), remove it from the heat, carefully fish out the thyme sprig stems. At this point, you can use an immersion blender to smooth it out before transferring it to an air-tight container.
- Store in the fridge for roughly 2-3 weeks.
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