10 to 12 servings
Literally fichi al galoppo means “galloping figs,” an intriguing name for such a simple dish. As the figs poach slowly in bubbling syrup, it sounds like galloping horses. The trick here is to cook them with enough sugar so the fruit will absorb the syrup, rather than release its own juices. When this balance is reached, the silky figs remain whole and deliciously impregnated with the syrup.
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 pounds ripe but firm figs
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon, peeled in strips (about ½-inch wide)
- 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
Spread the sugar in the bottom of the pan and pour in the water and lemon juice. Set the figs in the pan, stem up, in one layer. Nestle the strips of lemon zest and bay leaves in between the figs.
Set the pan over low heat and cook slowly until the sugar melts and the figs release their juices. As the juices rise in the pan, gradually raise the heat to keep them bubbling (and “galloping”). When the figs are soft and the liquid level comes half way up their sides, 30 minutes or more, turn off the heat and let the figs rest in the pan for an hour or longer, and reabsorb some of the juices.
Slowly heat the figs and juices until they’re bubbling again and cook for 30 minutes or so, until the figs are very soft (but still intact) and the juices have become thick and syrupy.
Let the figs cool before serving. Arrange them in a serving dish if you like, with the syrup all around. Enjoy the fruit and syrup on their own, or atop vanilla ice cream or with a soft creamy cheese such as Taleggio or Robiola.