Back in my café ownership days, food talk and recipe sharing came naturally with many of my clients. I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to engage with my clientele daily. My restaurant was neither glamorous nor a spot to enjoy a leisurely meal. It spanned over 120 square feet: a tiny working kitchen with a service counter. You came, you ordered and you left… What it lacked in attractiveness, it made up in meals full of cooking passion! Many discussions were had over that tiny counter about ingredients, recipes, other restaurants, up & coming chefs, world renowned chefs and the simple joy of eating really awesome comfy foods. Nothing brought me more satisfaction than my customers expressing their utter enjoyment with our offerings. The best compliment I could ever hope to recieve was seeing my customers come back over and over again. But the ultimate compliments came in the form of favourite recipes, including prized family heirloom recipes, these food lovers would share with me.
As I add to this blog, I plan to credit all the foodies, family, friends or former clients, that have generously shared their own passion for cooking with me, even if some didn’t even know me on a more intimate level… Seems a certain intimacy can be reached when fulfilling many senses with delectable dishes, however simple and unassuming these may be… I think this is the power and hold cooking really good food has: how magical is that?
This is exactly where this Fig Boursin Corstini recipe comes from: sharing! Doctor W, a very faithful soup eater at my spot (which was set in a professional medical building), always bragged about his wife Maxine’s talents in the kitchen. One day, he arrived with these little crostinis she had made for a dinner party. He was so enamored with these little bites he simply had to share with us! And it is how I ended up with this simple, yet unusual recipe that packs a huge punch of flavour. Since blogs travel the world without borders, some of you may not be familiar with Boursin. It is a “brand” food afterall… Boursin is a soft and creamy yet slightly crumbly fresh cow’s milk cheese. It comes in a variety of flavours, the classic one being garlic and herbs. I suspect most of you can find a similar type of cheese wherever you live. Herb and garlic fresh goat’s milk cheese would be a lovely substitute. What I love most about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and it does freeze well. So you can make it long before your guests arrive and enjoy cocktail hour with them.
What you need:
- 1 1/2 cups dried Black Mission figs*, chopped
- 1/2 cup Porto, use the good stuff!
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced or grated ginger (I tend to be very liberal with ginger)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 pear, not too soft, peeled and chopped the about same size as the figs
- 1 baguette, thinly sliced (day old is probably best)
- 1 container herb and garlic Boursin cheese, brought to roomtemperature
* Black Mission figs yield the best results, but any dry figs will do
- In a small saucepan, combine figs, Porto, honey, ginger and rosemary
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes
- Add pear and continue to simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes
- Let cool completely. This fig “jam” will keep several days in the fridge in an airtight container and can be frozen as well
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Thinly slice a baguette, spead slices on a cooke sheet and toast until lightly brown. Flip and toast the other side as well. Let cool completely
- To serve: spread cheese on the little toasts and top with a spoonful of fig jam. Or let your guests have fun assembling by serving all the components separately.
- Try this variation: instead of serving cold over baguette toast, make crowd pleasing hot appetizers using these components to fill phyllo bundles or puff pastry pillows