Savoury Sweet Fig Compote + Fig Syrup
by Voula Halliday
Dried figs, zesty citrus fruit, Greek olives and olive oil, pungent herbs, robust spices, and sweet honey are my most beloved flavours, and they are on repeat in my kitchen. This recipe features them all and delivers both a delicious compote and a savoury syrup that can be used to complement so many Mediterranean dishes. I often double the recipe for twice as much joy.
Makes about 1½ cups Savoury Sweet Fig Compote and ½ cup Fig Syrup
- 1½ cups small dried figs (about 8 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup liquid honey
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. yellow or brown mustard seeds
- ½ tsp. fennel seeds
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange (about ½ cup juice)
Using a paring knife, cut stems from figs and discard. Slice figs into rounds, about ¼ inch thick. Place sliced figs into a large saucepan.
Add water and honey. Stir in thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and orange zest and juice.
Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer syrup, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until figs are softened and infused with flavour. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooled fig slices to a resealable jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use, reserving syrup in the pan. Savoury figs will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Place the pan of reserved syrup over medium heat. Bring syrup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until liquid has thickened and reduced to about ½ cup. (If you like your syrup thicker, simmer it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, but be careful or it will become too thick and sticky.)
Set aside to cool.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain syrup into a resealable jar. Discard the spices or set them aside for another use (see Tip below). Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Save the strained spices in a resealable jar and use them to add some flavour to Dijon mustard for sandwiches; to marinades for beef, pork, or chicken; or to your favourite vinaigrette. Strained spices will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
This is the kind of recipe that you can easily adapt to your liking. If you aren’t a fan of honey, try using the same quantity of maple syrup or sugar instead. If you want something sweeter, add 2 tbsp more sweetener. Change up the aromatic spices, if you wish. Try adding a clove, or star anise, or cinnamon stick. Skip the fennel seeds, if desired. Use only rosemary, or only thyme, or skip the fresh herbs all together—try whatever inspires you.
Try lemon zest and juice instead of orange.
How to Enjoy Savoury Sweet Fig Compote + Fig Syrup
Serve the fig compote and syrup on thick Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Serve a small bowl of the fig compote with paté or terrine, or as part of a cheese or charcuterie platter.
Make a brie or gorgonzola cheese pizza, and top with Savoury Sweet Fig Compote and prosciutto. Drizzle hot pizza with Fig Syrup before serving.
Add slices of the fig compote to your sandwiches.
Top warm breakfast cereal with compote and drizzle with syrup.
How to Use Savoury Sweet Fig Compote + Fig Syrup to Make Savoury Olive Oil and Fig Slather:
Oh, how I love the bright green and grassy flavour of extra virgin olive oil combined with the aromatic spices and sunshine brightness of honey, citrus, and figs. This slather is an easy way to add the taste of the Mediterranean to your dishes.
Makes 1 cup:
- ½ cup Savoury Sweet Fig Syrup
- ½ cup Savoury Sweet Fig Compote
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine fig syrup, fig compote, and olive oil. Stir until well mixed. Use immediately or store in a resealable jar. Slather will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
How to Enjoy Savoury Olive Oil and Fig Slather
Top slices of crostini with soft goat or sheep milk cheese, and then add about 2 tbsp. of slather on top of each.
Slather over grilled vegetables, seafood, chicken, or lamb.
Make a salad dressing: In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 cup slather and 2 tbsp. balsamic or apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ tsp ground black pepper. Pulse until mixture is a creamy consistency. Taste. Add a small amount of olive oil (2 tbsp. at a time) if you find the vinegar too strong, or add more vinegar (1 tbsp. at a time) if you prefer a dressing with more zing. Season with salt and pepper.
About Voula Halliday:
Voula Halliday is a chef, a writer, an educator and an artist. Her first cookbook, Eat at Home, was published in 2017. She was one of the chef experts on CBC Television’s award-winning daytime show Steven and Chris, and has been a guest on a variety of morning television and radio shows.
Her recipes have appeared in advertising and a variety of publications including Bon Appétit, Canadian Living, National Post, Fresh Juice, Reader’s Digest Canada, Best Health, Food & Drink, and Chatelaine, where she was both a contributing editor and an associate in the test kitchen developing and testing many of Chatelaine’s best-loved recipes. Currently she lives in the Kawartha Lake District of Ontario. She spends her time developing recipes and is finishing up her second cookbook, coming out soon.
You can follow her @voulahalliday