Well, it’s been hot, hot, hot in the South of France as we ride out what the French call a canicule – heatwave. And as I’ve just had my first day back to work after the traditional August vacation period, it’s hard not to want to escape to the beaches with the rest of the “extended” holiday-goers.
But as much as summer is a gorgeous season in Provence, I’m also very excited about the approaching fall. In September & October, you’ll find much the same weather with a lot more space to lay your towel on the plage. And while I love (love) the foods of summer, nothing beats tasting hearty Provençal soups & stews when the temps start to dip.
And then of course there are the food festivals. Even though summer’s not quite over, the first wave of food fêtes is on its way.
This weekend kicks off fig-season in the south with the Fig Festival at Sollies-Pont. The department where we live, the Var, is responsible for 75% of fig production in France. Sollies-Pont is known for its violet figs (which even hold their own Appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC) and after attending last year’s festival it was clear that the village takes great pride in its purple beauties.
Besides the copious jams, the festival is a showcase for all things fig – tartes, macarons, chutney, and fig wine & liqueur.
We’re also able to get figs from Sollies at our local market, so this week I tried my first fig recipe. I’m sharing it here and hope to have more “fig-tips” after this weekend’s festival… or at the very least, some of that that fine fig wine…
Mini Gratins de Figues à l’Amande (Fig & Almond Gratins)
4 ripe figs
1/2 cup of cream
3 teaspoons of almond powder
6 teaspoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Gently wash the figs and cut them into quarters. Butter 4 mini-casseroles and place four of the fig pieces in each casserole. Mix together the egg and cream, add the sugar and ground almonds. Pour this mixture over the fig pieces. Put some sliced almonds on top of each casserole.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
*recipe credit: Journal des Femmes