This time we will show you how to pick out good figs, and the recipe for visually cute fig tartelette made with fresh figs from the town of Kawajima, Saitama Prefecture.
The wonders of Kawajima’s special figs
The figs in this article come from Kawajima, a town in Saitama Prefecture that produces and ships more figs than anywhere else in the prefecture.
Most of Kawajima’s figs are grown using the flat-rod style, where two branches are grown in parallel to the ground. This way the plants get enough air and sun. Kawajima Fig Producers’ Union recommends growing with organic fertilizers is recommended, and sets strict standards to control quality, including the amount of pesticides permitted, as well as the size, color and sweetness level of the figs. Kawajima’s figs are standardized at sweetness level of 13-15, which means very sweet.
We talked to Satoru Kimura, the head of the union, to ask him how to pick out the best figs.
“When they become plump, large and dark red, and their skin taut, that’s when they taste good. You do not let the figs ripen after harvest, so you pick out the ones that are thoroughly ripe, with a good color and aroma,” says Kimura.
Figs bruise easily and do not last long. It is best to finish them quickly. Otherwise, cook them in syrup to make compote or jam.
Fig tartelette, with fresh figs from Kawajima
We asked marimo, a confectionery researcher, to devise a confection that brings out the best of Kawajima’s figs.
“I choose thoroughly colored figs with taut skin. Ripe ones are sweet and delicious. You can enjoy them fresh. If you cook them their green flavor will go, and they become sweeter. You can also caramelize them, cooking a small amount of sugar and water in a fry-pan and adding fig slices. You can make great sweets by just adding them to yogurt,” says marimo.
Apparently, caution is needed when making jelly or mousse with figs, because fresh figs contain enzymes that prevent gelatin from solidifying. It is best to heat figs once to break down the enzymes in advance if you want to make jelly or mousse.
This time we will show you the recipe of a fig tartelette made with highly sweet, seasonal figs. The tartelette is not just tasty but looks cute with a pleasant color.
Tartelette means a small tart made for one person. It will look cuter than a whole large tart. As figs are red inside and perfect for presentation, it is best to cut them and arrange them on top.
“If you place lots of figs, the tartelette will be prettier and tastier, but make sure to keep the arrangement well-balanced. If you want more figs than you can put on the top, you can put slices of figs directly on the plate. That way it will look packed and gorgeous. You might want to arrange some herbs like chervil or mint to make it look professionally made. Please give it a try!”
Why not try your hand at making a confection, using fresh and sweet figs from Kawajima? It will be a great seasonal confection that is not only tasty but pleasing to the eye.
Kawajima’s figsSource：Satoru Kimura, Head of Kawajima Fig Producers’ Union
From August through to October
・Choose ones that are red right up to the base of the stem
・Choose ones with skin that is not shriveled but is instead taut and elastic
・Best to enjoy them when there are cracks at the end, revealing the flesh