The Best Fig Anise Curd!
Fig lovers & non-fig lovers can use this recipe to make home made fig & anise curd. Perfect to use up not-so-fresh figs or even frozen figs.
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Love figs, love anise or aniseed flavour? Have figs that are no longer fresh? Let me show you how to make use of the figs & have a tasty, home made curd that you can use on lots of things. Great with a slice of banana bread, on top of overnight oats, or spread on British Scones. Also works great with frozen figs.
Why Make It?
Even if you are not a fan of figs, or even tasted them, this curd when combined with the anise, tastes absolutely amazing.
Home Made Always Better
Yes there is sugar in this recipe, but so too is any curd or jam you buy. So making your own will save you money, & always taste better without ‘extra’ ingredients.
Use Well-ripe Or Frozen Figs
Figs are expensive (unless you have your own fig trees), but you can also make this curd from figs that are no longer fresh, or as I do, from frozen figs. Figs lose their extreme freshness very quickly once you have them back home, so making the curd, or freezing the figs, is ideal.
And if you purchase figs that are on sale or reduced because they are not at their peak of freshness, then more money saved there too, as freezing them would be perfect, as you can make the curd another time.
And when I list ‘fresh figs’ in the ingredients, I am meaning in the broad sense like ‘fresh fruit’ as opposed to canned/tinned fruit or dried fruits. I have not tested using dried figs & I think it might be a bit more difficult, so would not advise it.
If Your Figs Don’t Look Great Inside
Don’t worry if the figs you have don’t look as vibrant a red colour inside as when really fresh, like the photo above, (and the same applies to frozen figs). They are still good for fig curd. You are adding dark brown sugar, so the curd will result in a brown colour anyway.
Ingredients For Fig Curd
Figs – fresh, ‘not-quite fresh’ or frozen figs all worked well. Use any variety you like. I have only ever used Turkish figs also known as Bursa figs, where they come from.
You will notice too that I labelled the photo with ‘Türkiye’ after Turkey. Türkiye is the word for Turkey, in their own language & recently have changed to being universally known as this. And if you are interested, it is pronounced ‘Tour-key-yeh‘. But if you will struggle with that, you will be pleased to know, Bursa is a bit easier, with only the Turkish ‘u’ being pronounced differently, making it ‘Boor-sa‘. And fig is İncir (‘een-jeer’).
Back to the recipe! Just don’t use dried figs. You can also use a different quantity of figs (and the sizes will vary, so I do advise on weighing the figs after cutting off any bad bits).
Sugar – dark brown sugar is best, but I have also tried a combination of dark brown and also dark brown Muscovado sugar. You could use dark & light brown sugar together, but will taste slightly different.
Butter – unsalted butter is recommended for all baking and because the percentage of salt varies from brand to brand, and unsalted has less water content. I recommend for my mixing method, to cube the butter into pieces about 1/2″ (1.25cm) for quicker melting into the mixture.
Eggs – in the UK we tend to use medium or large eggs, and the US equivalent to these is roughly Large & Extra Large. Make sure, that the eggs are at room temperature before using. You can make curd with just yolks, or an uneven combination of yolk & whites. See my Easy Lemon Curd Recipe, where I list examples of how many to use instead of just whole eggs.
Ground Anise – this really makes the fig curd amazing & is like aniseed. An alternative to anise, is to use star anise. Pre-ground star anise, or by removing the pods & finely grinding with a pestle & mortar till you have enough for 1 tsp worth. Once the curd is off the hob, you can add more to your taste.
Other Spices – there is also some ginger, cinnamon & Mixed Spice (Pumpkin Spice). These don’t dominate the flavour, but are there to round off the overall flavour. As an alternative you can reduce the anise/star anise by about 1/4 – 1/2 & add more of these other spices. Start with the initial amounts listed in the recipe stages, before varying the rest on tasting.
Some alternative ingredients have been mentioned above & in the recipe card below, but you can easily use this recipe as a guide for making any other type of fruit curd. (Or click to go to Lemon Curd Recipe).
How To Make It – The Process
1. The first stage is to prepare & cook your figs, until softened. Some lemon, lemon juice & berries, will help provide more pectin (a natural gelatin), to aid in the thickening of the curd later.
2. The cooked figs are then blitzed to a puree. (See Photo 1).
3. Dark brown sugar is added to a Bain Marie (a water bath/see equipment on recipe card) of simmering water, before the fig puree & eggs are added.
4. This curd mixture is then cooked on a low heat, (and on a smaller stove top ring), to help with the thickening but also to avoid scrambling the eggs. (See recipe for details on how to make the curd without standing mixing by hand continually for at least 15 minutes straight). See Photo 2.
5. Small cubes of butter are added with a little mixing in-between each addition, until the mixture is thickened enough. (See Photo 3 below, left pic spoon test).
6. The fig curd is then covered with cling film/plastic wrap on the surface and chilled until fully set. This can talk a few hours. (See below for tips on quicker setting). And the curd is then ready to use.
My ‘Quicker Setting’ Method
In A Hurry For It To Set? As food developing also involves photography, not to mention food styling & everything else, often you run short on time, or lose the light for good pics. So often I have to improvise & think of ways to speed up cooling & setting (in an effort to get the best photos to you, that truly represent my recipe results). This is one such shortcut or ‘hack’. Instead of chilling for 3 to 4 hours, you can reduce that to about 1 to 1 & ½ hours.
Cover the curd as described, chill for 30 minutes & then freeze for 30 minutes. If not set enough for your liking or use, chill for a further 30 minutes. The photo collage, shows the set after the 1 hour quicker method.
Or Leave Overnight
Alternatively, leave overnight for a completely set curd. This 4-photo collage below shows the thickness & setting of the curd left overnight. Very thick, but oh so yummy. And with better strategical integrity if using for fillings, or say in a layer cake & you don’t want it sliding down the sides of the cake.
After the cooled curd has set, transfer to glass jars (old jam jars, mason jars etc.) I used a large coffee jar that I recycled. But the recipe makes enough for up to 2 standard 16oz jars. Will last 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge, but if you want to last longer, you can sterilize & can the sealed jars & add the curd while still warm. National Centre for Home Food Preservation say:
“For best quality, store in a cool, dark place, away from light. Use canned lemon curd within 3 – 4 months. Browning and/or separation may occur with longer storage; discard any time these changes are observed.”National Centre For Home Food Preservation1
What To Serve With Fig Curd?
This fruit curd is great on raisin bread, toast, or my favourite – banana bread. Look out for my new healthier banana pumpkin bread recipe coming soon. (See photos below).
Further examples are served on my Classic British Scones. Paired lovely with some whipped double/heavy cream. Also great spread on waffles or Scottish Crumpets (like a pancake, see photo above). Add a thin layer to your overnight oats before serving or even spoon on top of some plain Greek Yoghurt. Love cheese and figs? Then why not pair with some crackers and white creamy cheese? Cottage cheese and red grapes also tasted great.
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DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Beginner, super simple
Where I Buy My Ingredients
This combination of fig anise curd, paired with cottage cheese, red grapes & Rosemary crackers was amazing. All from Aldi UK, & the crackers are their Specially Selected Gourmet Rosemary Savoury Crackers range. Full disclosure, no sponsorship or gifting from Aldi, I just like their products & pricing and can find most of what I need for baking from them. Including baking equipment. Oh and the photos of the Scottish Crumpets (like pancakes), are Aldi’s Authentic Scottish Bakeries Large Scottish Crumpets, that my son who does weight lifting, loves as they are high in protein.
For Simple Fig & Anise Curd
Abbreviated version of the recipe below – ‘Recipe Card’. Save, share or print this card, & print with/without photos. ‘Cook Mode’ – toggle to on position (becomes blue), & prevents screen from going black while making the recipe (before equipment list). Most recipes have ‘jump to recipe’ option at the beginning of posts. I do advise less experienced bakers to read all the additional helpful information, & process stages before the recipe card, to ensure success.
- Scales or measuring cups (see my hand-measured baking ingredient conversions table )
- Measuring Spoons
- Cooking pot for figs
- Immersion blender (stick blender, small food processor, smoothie maker etc)
- Bain Marie (heat save bowl on top of a cooking pot, that does not touch the bottom of the pot. See notes)
- Electric hand mixer (with dough hooks, electric whisk or a hand-held whisk. See further notes)
- Wooden spoon
- Medium sized heat proof bowl (for cooling fig curd)
- Cling Film (plastic wrap/saran wrap)
- 2 Glass Jars (Masan jars, old jam/preserve jars etc. About 2 x 16oz jars or 1 bigger. Thoroughly cleaned & dried or sterilized)
- 290 grams Figs, chopped (10¼ oz, 1⅔ cups, about 6 medium or 8 small figs, any variety of fresh or frozen figs, roughly chopped to about 1"/2.5cm pieces*)
- 26 grams Strawberries, or any other berries (1 oz, optional, or increase fig quantity**)
- 3 tbsp Water (45ml, 1½ fl oz)
- 2 Small – Medium Lemons (Juice of one & one cut in wedges)
- 420 grams Dark Brown Sugar (14¾ oz, 2 packed cups plus 4 tsp. For alternatives see notes ***)
- 3 Eggs, med-large (US large – xlarge size)
- 160 grams Butter, unsalted (5½ oz, ¾ cup, cubed)
- ¾ – 1 tsp Ground Anise (Alternatively Star Anise, with pods removed & ground with mortar & pestle. )****
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1¼ tsp Ginger
- ¼ tsp Mixed Spice (Pumpkin Spice)
Cook The Figs
- Begin by chopping your figs if you haven't already, ensuring you remove the 'neck' & any bruised areas. (The 'neck' is what's left on the top of the fig after removing from the stalk when harvested). Cut into pieces about 1" (2½cm). See photo collage below. Don't worry if the figs don't look as vibrant a red colour inside as when really fresh. Same goes if you used frozen figs.
- Then place the chopped figs, lemon wedges (skin and all and berries if using), into a medium sized pot. (I have used a non-stick frying pan, and a non-stick pot). Add the 3 tbsp water & cook on a low heat to begin with until you see the figs give off some of their clear juices. Then proceed to increase the heat to medium & let it come to a gentle boil. Add in the lemon juice, stirring occasionally & continue cooking until the figs are tender & there is now a significant amount of red fig juice. (See Photo 1 of th eprocess shots before this recipe card & video for reference & note that for frozen figs, it will be more of a brownie red colour).
Puree The Figs
- Transfer to a different bowl/container & use an immersion blender (stick blender, processor etc), to puree the cooked figs. Some lumps is fine, but if you don't want to eat the odd fig skin, blitz further till thick and smooth. Leave to cool in the fridge a little while you prepare for cooking the curd. (See photo above).
Make The Curd
- Break the eggs into a small bowl before whisking together with a fork. (Make sure you are using room temperature eggs). Now find a heat-save bowl (glass, metal or ceramic), that will sit nicely on top of a cooking pot without touching the bottom of the pot. (Known as a double boiler or bain marie ). Remove the bowl, add in about 1 – 2" (2½-5cm) level of water to the bottom of the pot, heat on medium heating & allowing to start to come to a boil.
- Move your pot onto a smaller ring, intended for cooking with a smaller sized pot, and turn the heat to medium for the water to gently simmer. (Changing rings is a very good idea if you have trouble making curd or worry about scrambling the eggs. By heating on a ring that is a bit small for your cooking pot, this will ensure the eggs don't get cooked too quickly.)
- Now sit the heat-save bowl on top of the pot of water & add the brown sugar, ½ tsp anise, 1 tsp ginger & 1 tsp Cinnamon to the bowl & whisk/mix together by hand.
- Next add in the pureed figs that will have cooled a little, and mix till fully combined. Then add in the whisked eggs, gradually, in increments of about 2 or 3, whisking well in-between each addition. Make sure your water is not boiling, & not bubbling up the pot. If it does get too hot (which is less likely, reduce the heat to low).
- Whisk the mixture for about 2 minutes by hand or with a hand-held electric whisk. Most recipes will now have you whisk continually by hand or at least hold an electric whisk, for at least fifteen minutes. But my hands get tired easily, so I found a way to reduce the amount of time needed to mix. Using a hand-held electric mixer, attach the dough hooks it comes with (see photo ). If you have an immersion/stick blender that also has a 'balloon style' whisk attachment, use that. Add in one cube of the butter at a time, & mix gently with a wooden spoon, let the heat melt the butter. Then turn the machine on, let it mix the curd on a moderate setting for 10 seconds. Add in another cube of butter and mix a little by hand until it melts. Repeat the 10 second mixing with the machine, alternating with adding the cube of butter.
- Don't let the dough hook attachment mix for longer than 10 seconds at a time (you don't want to blow the motor on your machine). The idea is to cook on very low, for longer, but with less constant mixing, which also allows the mixture to thicken more naturally, as well as reduce the chances of scrambled eggs.
- In-between the adding butter and mixing, every so often check the thickness of the curd with your wooden spoon. Mix through the curd to see the thickness and when you think it might be thick enough, test by submerging the business-end of the spoon in the curd, turning it over to let the curd coat the back of the spoon. At the beginning the curd would have ran off the back of the spoon but once it stays longer and coats it – do the test.
- Run your finger, or better still the end of a small spoon (as the mixture will be hot), through the curd coating the back of the spoon and try and draw a clear line through it. This line should show the thickness of the curd – is it clear definition between the exposed wood of the spoon, where you scraped it, and where the curd still remains? Or is it less defined because the curd is not thick enough and more liquid state? Get in the habit of checking during the mixing stage so you will become accustomed to what it should look like. (See photo below).
- Once thick enough with the clear line, (note you don't need it to be really really thick & set now, as it will continue to thicken off the heat & on chilling), remove from the heat & remove the bowl from the cooking pot. Let it cool a few minutes before adding anymore of the anise & other spices. Add in ¼ tsp of Mixed Spice/Pumpkin Spice, ¼ tsp Ginger & another ¼ tsp anise. Mix thoroughly before having a taste test. Add in more anise by the ¼ tsp until you are happy with the level of anise. If not as keen on anise, you can alternatively add small amounts of ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg.
Cooling & Setting
- Once happy with the flavouring, transfer the fig curd from the bowl and place in a different bowl before covering with cling film/plastic wrap. Like with pastry cream/creme pat, you want to place the plastic on top of the surface of the curd, so as not to let any air cause a crust to form. See my video for how to do this. Then simply place in the fridge till set.
- Setting of the curd fully, for using, can take up to 4 hours in the fridge. However, if in a hurry, this method works for me – first chill for 30 minutes, before placing in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer & use now if set enough. Otherwise, place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Alternatively, leaving overnight in the fridge after cooking, will also produce a nice extra firm curd, that holds its shape.
Using & Storing
- Once the cooled curd is thickened enough, transfer to any glass jars you have. Mason jars, old jam jars, etc. It makes enough for a few standard sized jars. Just make sure you have nice airtight lids. No need to sterilize or can the jars unless you think you will not consume within 2 – 3 weeks. Just wash and dry thoroughly, keep in the fridge and never place a used spoon/knife in the curd or it will spoil sooner. If you want to can the curd, it will last 3 – 4 months. (See below)
- Serve the curd with anything you would normally enjoy jam, jelly or preserve with. Examples are on my Classic British Scones. Paired lovely with some whipped double/heavy cream (see below or before Recipe Card). Also great on warm toast, or even spread on waffles or Scottish crumpets. Add a thin layer to your overnight oats before serving or even spoon on top of some plain Greek Yoghurt. Love cheese & figs? Then why not pair with some crackers and white creamy cheese? I combined with cottage cheese & red grapes & that was amazing.
1 – National Centre For Home Food Preservation @ https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/lemon_curd.html
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