Last year during NYC’s transit strike, I was lucky enough to have the kind of job where I didn’t have to actually risk freezing my ass off or being hit by a car in the ungodly crush of traffic that ensued, and I stayed put in Brooklyn. I spent my days doing research, listening to NPR, and making my own Christmas presents for friends and colleagues: brandied fig compote in little 4 oz. jars. I shopped at Sahadi’s for the figs, and fished out a few recipes from the Internet. I stewed cut up and de-stemmed figs in juice and brandy with raisins, and after about an hour, I had a mixture that was the consistency of jam. I’m not really into using pectin, so I called it compote instead. I made little labels for each jar in the shape of holly leaves, decorated them with silver glitter, and brought them to my office’s holiday party. They were a hit.
I’m still using some of the compote myself on crackers and toast. This year, I thought I’d try to teach a workshop on how to do this to some neighbors, but I haven’t had the time to make the hand-made sign that I’d planned. I wanted to advertise my workshop by hanging my signs in Brooklyn’s two Tea Houses, but I took the lazy route and posted an ad about it on Craigslist. Sadly, I haven’t gotten any responses yet. If you’re interested in joining the workshop, leave me a comment with a way to get in touch with you, or visit Craigslist and search under classes and workshops for “homemade” and “fig” and “compote.” A $75 registration fee gets you into the 2-hour workshop, and you’ve leave with the know-how to do it yourself, and 12 4 oz. quilted canning jars filled with fig compote. I provide all of the supplies, except the brandy. You can sauce it up, but it’s BYOB.