I found beautiful fresh figs and large purple Italian plums this past week. Figs are a favorite since living in Playas, Ecuador. Our guardian would pick figs and bring a bag to our home when they were perfectly ripe, soft and sweet. I would cut them in half, wrap half a slice of bacon around it and bake it in the oven just until the bacon was crispy. That was a real treat. I can tolerate a Fig Newton, if there is nothing else in the house but unless you have had fresh ripe figs you have not lived.
I loved them so much and our friend Yusuf said I needed to plant a tree in the yard in San Clemente, Ecuador. Where was I going to fit another tree in the San Clemente yard? Well I found a tree and found a place for it and enjoyed a small harvest a few times from that tree. That is only one of the things I miss about San Clemente, but don’t get me started on that.
I made a shortbread crust, with flour, butter, sugar, dash of salt and vanilla and an egg. No rolling necessary as it was going to be a tart, free form and rustic. I cut up 6-7 figs and plums and arranged them on the pastry which I had placed on a baking sheet covered with a silicone baking liner, this will stick as the sweet juices ooze from the tart. Turned the edges up and baked it for about 15 minutes. The crust was wonderful and the fruit just so sweet and soft.
Our time in Ecuador has been filled with small adventures, most of those adventures came while meeting new folks because of the blog. While we were still living in Salinas a reader Yusuf starting corresponding this was back in April 2011. He has followed our blog almost from the first post so I consider him a dear and treasured friend at this point.
When we bought this home and I was posting of the itty bitty yard with all its trees he suggested a fig. Where was I going to put a fig but when I saw one for sale while at the mercado in Charapoto what do you think I did, yes you are correct I bought it, what was one more tree in our yard. It was a bitty thing and it has grown slowly. I’m thinking it will never bear fruit in our lifetime, well I was totally wrong.
I was shocked to see the one and only fig on the ground a few days later but just assumed the tree to just to young to bear fruit but maybe next season. I have high hopes for fig marmalade.
Yusuf, thanks for your wonderful advice, suggestions and counsel for the past years. We are blessed to have met folks like you on our journey.