I have found that soft, refrigerated figs that ceased to look attractive make a better jam. For that reason I feel that even the soft, dried California figs would work here instead of the fresh fruit, although I have not tried them yet…
MAKES ABOUT 4 QUARTS (8 one-pint jars)
3 1/2 pounds (1.750 lt.) figs, any kind, purple or green –preferably a mixture of soft and firm fruits
1 cup sweet red wine, preferably Mavrodaphne of Patras (see Note for substitutions)
1/2 cup water, or more, as needed
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon citric acid (optional, if your lemons are mild, like mine)
2 sprigs Rose geranium (you can substitute cinnamon, or any sweet-musky spice you like)
RINSE and drain the fruits. Cut and discard the stem and the end of each fig, then quarter the fruits and transfer to a pot. Add the wine and water and bring slowly to a boil.
Add the sugar and honey, stir and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the figs are tender. If too dry, add a little more water. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the rose geranium or any other aromatic you choose, and cook, stirring for 5 more minutes, then pour in the lemon and add the citric acid, if you using it.
Cook, stirring, for another 5-10 minutes. Be careful because the jam splatters; wearing rubber gloves is a good idea.
By now the jam must be syrupy; place a good drop on a cold plate. Let cool and push with your finger. If it wrinkles, the jam is done. If it is still watery, cook a bit more, stirring the whole time.
Pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars, filling almost to the top, cover immediately and let cool; the jars will seal.
Cypriot Commandaria works also well and seems to be available all over the world but this is quite a wonderful and pricey dessert wine. You can use any low-end port, or even resort to a Manischewitz-type wine, because real port and Commandaria are expensive and I hate to waist them in a jam. The easiest solution could be to substitute any bodied red wine for the Mavrodaphne, increasing the amount of honey by 2-3 tablespoons.