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Dear Tom Hanks, I’m sorry there were no figs on your island.


In this simple 15 minute recipe I’ve combined two of my favorite flavors.  Fresh figs and fresh coconut.  The nutty flavor of the coconut combined with sweet figs and a hint of vanilla create a jam that will whisk you to the islands.

Unless you’re my sister, who already lives in the islands…of Oahu.

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I stared at the coconut and thought about how to approach what was next.

I could have rolled my eyes at this furry being and pretended that the task at hand was a breeze.  I could have bragged that with one pop, I would split the little bastard open like I had done a million times before.  But that just wouldn’t be the truth.

Before yesterday, I had never…not once…cracked open a coconut.  

Why would I skip past the part of the story where I used a cork screw, a pairing knife, and a spoon to attempt breaking its shell?  Why would I rob you of the gloriously goofy look on my face when a crack was finally made?

We’re all in this together, and this is an experience to share.  Someday you might be faced with opening a coconut too, and I certainly don’t want you to feel alone.

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So instead of telling you the tale of how on a Thursday afternoon I broke into my very first coconut…

I decided that in true Fanfare fashion, I would show you.

*Special appearance by my sister Sarah who not only lives in the land of coconuts, but most importantly–loves my homemade fig jam.*

Coconut Fig Jam

*Makes 1/2 cup fresh jam.  Store in the fridge.  Will keep for up to a month, but probably will be eaten well before that.*

To juice and open fresh coconut: Using a sturdy butter knife, jab a hole into the shell.  Once you’ve broken into the outer layer, push the knife in further and twist.  Using the end of a wooden spoon, widen the hole to make a larger, more rounded circle.  Tilt coconut upside down and let liquid drain into a bowl.  Strain well before use.

To open, use the BACK of a hammer or a large knife.  First, note the seam that runs between the “eyes” of the coconut.   Follow the seam to the equator. Using the blunt edge or back of your hammer, tap firmly around its equator as you rotate the coconut in the palm of your hand.  Continue to tap and rotate until the coconut splits completely open. If it’s done right, after just a few turns, the coconut will break open into two halves.

  • 10-12 medium size fresh figs (Black Mission or Brown Turkey or a combination of both)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup liquid from inside coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut meat
  • 2 tablespoons juice from fresh orange + 1 teaspoon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Slice stems of figs and quarter.  Put all ingredients in small pot or saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for five minutes and then break up figs using a potato masher.  Season to taste with more sugar.