specialities and sundries

Burnt Fig Jam


Maggie Beer’s Burnt Fig Jam is a favorite. Coming from Australia, it’s expensive and not easy to find, so about once or twice a year I give making my own the (college) try. We’re getting close…. The trick is courage: letting it burn enough.

Fig jam is great on scones, delicious with cheese, and makes an excellent glaze over the top of fruit tarts.  Serve it with our Cheddar Bites, some toasted nuts and a bottle of Pinot Noir; your guests will love it!

Burnt Fig Jam

Click Here For Printable Recipe


1 pound organic figs, washed with stems trimmed, and quartered

1/2 cup (4 oz.) organic granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup water


1.  Put the washed and cut fig into a medium sized sauce pan with the sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.

2.  Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and add the lemon juice.  Return to the heat and continue to cook until the jam begins to caramelize at the edges.

3.  Slowly add a 1-2 ounces of the second 1/2 cup water, taking care to pour it onto the warm spoon, letting it flow slowly into the hot jam to avoid splattering.  Continue cooking until the jam just beings to smoke.

4.  Add a little more water using the same technique and using the new moisture to bring the caramelized jam off the sides with the spoon.  Repeat once more.

5. Cook just until you think the burning of the sugar has gone too far.  Remove from the heat and add the last ounce of water, stirring to blend and pull the burnt caramel colored jam from the edges.  If it appears the jam will be too thick when it cools add another ounce of water and stir to blend.

6.  Let the jam cool before putting in a jar, and let cool completely before covering with a lid and refrigerating.


22 thoughts on “Burnt Fig Jam

  1. Oh wow! I can’t let this post go by without commenting. I’m so delighted that Maggie Beer has reached you way over there. She is an Australian treasure, and based in the iconic wine and food region of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, about 1.5 hours’ drive from where I live. Maggie Beer is SO dearly loved Australia-wide and is sought after for every TV cooking show, magazine and foodie event all over the country. Her cookbooks are amazing, and she is the queen of verjuice (she’s written a whole cookbook on it). Over here, we can got hold of her fabulous products at any supermarket or food store but even though it’s so readily available, she has not compromised on the quality of her goods. It’s an amazing achievement. If you can ever get your hands on her mushroom pate, you must try it. It’s amazing (although I’m not sure if it’s gluten free). I’ve not tried her burnt fig jam, but I am blessed with a prolific fig tree of my own. Fig and ginger jam is my specialty and it’s such a joy to give a jar away to someone who really appreciates it, as I’m sure you know. I’m bookmarking this for February, when my figs come into season. I’ve always wondered about the “burnt” aspect of preserves, specifically, how to do it deliberately (I’m very good at accidental and unintended burning!), so thanks so much for your comprehensive guide!

    • Working on a possible trip to Australia in November – would love your advice on what other (food) not to miss. Thanks for your detailed message.

      With appreciation,

      Gus’s Mom

  2. I just said to two Aussie bloggers yesterday that Australia has THE most interesting foods! I will have to go out of town and search the international markets for some of it.
    Fig Jam looks incredibly good! I love figs.

  3. I Love making fig jam!! I just made a batch of Fig, Peach and Cherry Jam then used a bit in homemade fig newton cookies.. So Good!
    Reading your post has me in the kitchen making scones to cover with the jam, I hadn’t even thought of scones. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. I know this is a year after the last entry but am posting it anyway in hopes that you notice it.
    I don’t try to “burn” jams – fig or whatever – I ‘flavor’ them using a method I tried years ago when I had made a batch of quince jam that was WAY TOO SWEET!
    I think I measured the sugar wrong.
    So here I was with this tooth-achingly sweet quince jam – three quarts of it.

    I brewed up a batch of triple strength Lapsang Souchong tea, added it to the jam and cooked it until the liquid had been absorbed and I again had a firmly jelled product.

    The smoky flavor of the strong tea completely mitigated the awful sweetness and produced a jam with exceptional flavor that went perfectly with cheeses, especially the strong cheeses, and was good on waffles, English muffins or crumpets and just plain toast.

    Subsequently I did the same thing with fig jam and a date conserve and both turned out beautifully.

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