Fig Jam with Secrets Recipe
FIRST INVENTED THIS JAM BACK IN 2006. Truth be told, I can’t remember what the “secrets” were back then, but the new ones are perfect. Of course I enjoy the coyness of the name, but what’s really cool about it is that the secret ingredients — orange, vanilla bean, cinnamon and Amaro Nonino (an Italian bitter) — seamlessly enhance the taste of the figs. It’s like you don’t even know they’re there — the figs just taste, well, better. Figgier, even! My assistant, Ariane, says this jam looks like a starry night sky, which is perfectly, poetically apt, and just one more reason to make it as soon as possible.
Serves: 6 8-oz jars
  • 3.3 lbsfresh black figs (about 25 large) 1.5 kg
  • 31∕4 cups + 2 tbsp granulated sugar 675 g
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1∕2 cup bottled lemon juice 125 mL
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 1
  • 1 1inch (2.5 cm) piece cinnamon stick (preferably Ceylon) 1
  • 1∕4 cup Amaro Nonino liqueur 60 mL
  1. Remove the stems and coarsely chop the figs. You should have about 71∕2 cups (1.875 L).
  2. In a large pot or preserving pan, combine the figs, sugar, orange zest and juice, lemon juice
  3. and vanilla bean. Crumble in Ceylon cinnamon or, if using cassia cinnamon, just throw in
  4. the stick. Cover and let stand to macerate for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week).
  5. In the meantime, prepare the jars and lids.
  6. Bring the fig mixture to a boil over mediumhigh
  7. heat, stirring often. Boil hard, stirring often,
  8. until the setting point is reached (see page 17). Remove from heat and let rest for
  9. minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the vanilla bean and cassia cinnamon (if using).
  10. Ladle jam into the hot jars to within 1∕4 inch (0.5 cm) of the rim. Remove any air bubbles
  11. and wipe rims. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until fingertip tight.
  12. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
Do not substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice in this recipe. While acidity varies from one lemon to another, bottled lemon juice has a constant pH and will ensure a safe pH level for these figs, which are a low acid fruit.

If you can find Ceylon cinnamon, splurge on it. Most cinnamon sold in the grocery store is cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is softer, almost crumbly, and I prefer its flavor. You can find it inquality spice stores or gourmet shops.
Recipe by My Cookbook Addiction at