Friday, April 26, 2013

Fig, Vanilla & Chocolate Jam (Bayildi ev Kadini)

Fig, Vanilla & Chocolate Jam

One of my favourite dishes is an aubergine dish called Imam Bayildi.  I love it not just for its deliciousness (what's not to love about aubergine, tomatoes, garlic & onions simmered in copious (and I really do mean copious) amounts of good olive oil), but I also love the name of it and the story behind it.  Loosely translated it means "the imam fainted" or some say "the imam swooned".  Opinion is divided, however, on whether the imam fainted with pleasure at the flavour of the dish, or whether in fact he fainted when he discovered the cost of the ingredients his wife had used in the dish (olive oil then being a very prized and expensive ingredient).  Either way, it's a "swoon-worthy" dish.

So why am I telling you this, and what could it possibly have to do with Fig, Vanilla & Chocolate Jam? Well, quite simply, when I scooped up a big spoonful of this jam on a hot, flaky, buttery croissant, I almost swooned myself with the sheer pleasure of it.  If only, I thought, I could come up for a name for this that might convey such delight.  If a magnificent aubergine dish can be called "the imam fainted", could this wonderous jam then perhaps be called "the housewife fainted"?  With a little bit of help from Google Translate then Bayildi ev Kadini is what I came up with - of course, I've placed a huge amount of faith in the translator here, so if this really says something horribly inappropriate in Turkish then you will let me know won't you?!

Fig, Vanilla & Chocolate Jam 2

Fig, Vanilla & Chocolate Jam Recipe (Bayildi ev Kadini)
Makes about 3 cups
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

1 kg (2 lb) fresh figs
500g (1 lb) sugar
2x vanilla pods
100g chocolate of your choice, roughly chopped
(I used Whittakers Hazelnut)

Cut figs in half and place in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized pan along with the sugar.  Split the vanilla pods in half, scrape out the seeds, and add the seeds and the pods to the pan.  Stir a few times.

Set the pan aside and allow to stand for about 24 hours.  By this time the sugar will be mostly dissolved, and the fig juices running.

Set the pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Now turn up the heat and boil rapidly until thick and gloopy and "jammy".  Towards the end you need to keep an eye on it - you want to take it to a stage where it is well reduced and it is just about to catch on the bottom.

Remove from heat and bottle into sterilised jars by putting a spoonful or two into the bottom of the jar, then add a layer of chopped chocolate.  Continue alternating layers of jam and chocolate until the jar is full.  The heat of the jam will melt the chocolate a little allowing it to ooze through the jam a little, but without melting it completely, so that when you dive into the jam you get some nice big chunks of chocolate.

Now you know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow ... what will you be having?

This will be my submission this month to Sweet New Zealand, inspired by Alessandra Zecchini and hosted this month by Monica at Delissimon - can't wait to see what sweet treats everyone has come up with this month.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A


  1. I don't speak Turkish so I can't comment on the naming but this looks absolutely divine!

  2. This is just fabulous! I never would have thought to mix in chocolate! Lovely! I can imagine a spoonful of this, must be an absolute delight with all the mixed flavours from the fig, vanilla and chocolate!
    I like the story of the Imam, I would like to think he fainted because his wife "burnt" a hole in his pocket! Hahahaha!
    Can't help you with the name, though, I don't read Turkish! But the name sounds very nice!
    Have a great weekend, Sue!

    1. Thanks, Joyce. The fig and vanilla on their own are delicious, but the addition of the chocolate is sublime, and interestingly actually somehow makes the jam less sweet.

  3. I have recently started to realize how much I love figs...they have such a wonderful flavor. This jam looks and sounds amazing!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    1. I have always loved dried figs - they are a favourite treat. But I never tasted a fresh one until about four years ago and I think it was love at first bite. As well as their lovely sweet taste, I think there is something about their "fragility" which makes them very appealing.

  4. This looks absolutely swoon-worthy to me! What a great combination of some of my favorite flavors. You have me drooling over the thoughts of this on a flakey croissant or even a piece of thick toasted bread. Yum!

    1. Thanks, Deb - yes, the croissant is lovely, but a nice slab of sourdough toast is just good. Crumpets are great with it too.

  5. Yum Sue! This looks absolutely divine, what a great combo. My fig and lemon jam simmering away on the stove at the moment just seems to boring now!

    1. Thanks, Nicola - the chocolate definitely makes it a bit special, but there is absolutely nothing boring about your fig and lemon preserves.

  6. Yum, that jam looks divine. Not sure I could trust myself with the whole recipe?!

    I'm sure I've tried that aubergine dish with copious amounts of olive oil (mine was from an Elizabeth David recipe)? I did cut back on the oil - still delicious.

    1. Thanks, Lesley. I've got to admit that it's pretty challenging to stop short of just sitting down with the jar and a spoon and devouring the whole lot.

      I think Imam Bayildi is exactly the kind of dish that Elizabeth David would have shared.

  7. Love this, Sue!! Definitely swoon-able and worthy of its creative name. Thanks for sharing about the imam, too.


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