Being a Fruit Hunter

Curiosity for Figs

fig

Ficus Carica or also known as Fig (common fig) is part of the mulberry family and is originally cultivated from Asia. In the 1520’s, the Spaniards introduced the fruit of the ficus tree to the Americans. Fig is also very historical because some historians believed that it was one of the potential forbidden fruit that Eve ate from the Book of Genesis. Since ancient times, figs have been cultivated and grow wild. It can tolerate seasonal drought that is why it is suitable to be planted in dry and sunny areas. As of today, the country that has the largest production of figs can be found in Turkey. Other countries such as Egypt, Morocco, USA and Brazil also produce figs.

Growing up in the Philippines, I have tried lots of different and some unusual fruits like jackfruit, rambutan, pomelo, and also our ever so famous sweet mango. I’ve heard about figs before especially when I was watching Masterchef. Figs can be cook in many different ways and be use in different types of dishes, from appetizer salad to sweet dessert.

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Most of the time, figs are not available in your local supermarket. I went to No Frills and Galleria but I couldn’t find some. Then I went to Seasons which is also an asian market just like Galleria and is located near our apartment building (near Yonge and Steeles). There I found different exotic fruits like soursop, figs, passion fruit, sugar apple, and etc. They sell figs per dozen and it retails for $15.99+tax (which is SUPER EXPENSIVE!) 😫
There 2 reasons why I chose figs; It’s one of those fruits that I have never tasted in my life and I also wanted to choose a fruit that I know that I can cook in different ways not just in desserts or making it into a jam.

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Sensory Evaluation

When I was choosing what to buy, I probably should have research first before I bought it. I didn’t know what a good quality fig looks and feels like. So when I bought it and cut the figs in half’s, I instantly notice some of them already had a dark and mushy centre. Which is so disappointing because I feel like I didn’t get my money’s worth. So when you are planning to buy some figs, here are some tips to help you determine what a good quality looks like:

1. Make sure that when you touch it, it must be firm and not mushy.
2. Make sure that the skin does not have any bruises otherwise when you cut it, it will look just like the picture. On the right side, which is dark and mushy
3. It should have a midly sweet fragrance.
4. It should have a beautiful pink-colored flesh
When I cut the figs in half, I instantly thought that it looks similar to a guava. It has a soft pink centre with tiny seeds. Like what I said, it has a mildly sweet smell. There were different textures that I’ve tasted when I was eating it. Crunchiness from the seeds, smoothness from the flesh and chewiness of the skin.
Figs have a short food life so it is important that you eat/use it before it gets spoiled!

Honey and Rosemary Roasted Figs with Pistachio Tuile and Ricotta Cheese

Roasted Figs with Honey and Rosemary:
1 pint fresh figs
1/3 cup honey
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
Fresh cracked black pepper
Tuille:
65g plain flour 1/3 cup
65g icing sugar 1/2 cup
65 g softened butter 1/4 or 1/3
2 egg whites
50g chopped pistachio

Ricotta cheese

Heat the oven to 375ºF. Wash and stem the figs. Slice in half and arrange cut side up in a baking dish. Drizzle the honey over top and cut the sprigs in half and tuck between the figs. Grind fresh pepper over everything.Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the honey is just being to get dark and caramelized. The figs should not be too soft – you need to be able to pick them up with your fingers.Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle the juices and honey left in the baking dish over the figs and cheese.
For the tuille, sift flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Place butter and egg whites in the chopped attachment of the stick blender and blend until smooth, add flour and icing sugar and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 5 minutes or until chilledUsing a spatula wipe the tuille mix (using the stencil) onto greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, then cook at 160C for 5-6 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges. Carefully remove from oven, using a spatula immediately place the tuille onto a rolling pin and let cool to shape.
I chose to roast the figs because I want to enhance what the flavour the figs already have. When I ate it raw it doesn’t taste that sweet than I have expected so I put honey to add sweetness and the rosemary added fragrance to the figs. I also made some tuile along with the roasted figs to add some crunchiness, you can use any crackers if you want. I also topped it with ricotta cheese to add some creaminess and a little bit of saltiness with the figs.
Being a Fruit Hunter is somehow challenging for me, I had a hard time finding where will the figs can be available. If you’re planning to try something new, make sure that you research it first so that you will not regret it afterwards (like I did). Make sure that you know what a good quality of the fruit looks like. Also when you’re cooking delicate and soft fruit just like figs, you have to be careful not to overcook it.

References:
Mateljan, G. (n.d.). Figs. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=24
Lewin, J. (n.d.). The health benefits of… figs. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-figs
Filippone, P. T. (2014). Learn The Fascinating History Of The Fig And Other Fun Facts. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/fighistory.htm
Common fig. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_fig
Ten, N. (2012). Vanilla Yoghurt Pannacotta with Raspberry Jelly and Pistachio Tuille. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/masterchef/recipes/vanilla-yoghurt-pannacotta-with-raspberry-jelly-and-pistachio-tuille
Durand, F. (2007). Recipe: Roasted Figs with Honey and Rosemary. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-roasted-8-37405

Pale, D. (2016, October 18). Being a Fruit Hunter. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://dyanneshaneviel.weebly.com/being-a-fruit-hunter.html

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