Sweet, plump figs are falling off the trees all over Greece and Italy as autumn approaches. This simple recipe for fig jam, from my book The Cook's Garden, is heavenly just eaten from a spoon (rather like the Greek spoon sweets). I'd forgotten just how good it is until a week or so ago when a friend of mine with fig trees growing in between olive trees at her Tuscan villa offered me some for breakfast. She had made batches of it and stored it in her cellar.
The figs retain their shape and fall off the end of the spoon surrounded by a lovely clear jam. But don't do what I did once, and leave the bowl near an ant trail. Fig and ant jam is not one I can recommend.
Wash the figs and remove their stems. Cut them into quarters and place in an earthenware bowl. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar, cover well and leave overnight.
The next day, place fig mixture in a large saucepan, and add the lime zest and juice. Bring to boiling point, turn down heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Warm the remaining sugar in a tray in the oven and have jars clean and warming at the same time in the oven.
Add the hot sugar to the pan and bring to a rapid boil. Boil the jam for 10 - 15 minutes, until setting point is reached. Be careful not to overcook. Add the almonds, if using. Spoon immediately into the prepared jars.
Makes approx. 750ml.