Figs are here! We finally had our first figs of the year this weekend, and words cannot adequately express how excited I am. I feel like my first fig sighting is always one of the best days of the summer, even if it means fall isn’t far away, but this year I’ve been even more eager than usual to catch a glimpse of those plump little soldiers standing in their neat, blue-purple rows under the awning at our favorite produce store.
Way, way back in the vestiges of winter, I discovered this gem of a fast-food Greek chain on our office Seamless that served up Greek yogurt parfaits with the most beguiling, fragrant rose petal preserves on top. The yogurt was so thick and full-fat that you could stick a spoon upright in it, and if left for a few hours the rose preserves soaked into the granola and made it pretty much the best thing for a late night in the office, or even breakfast the next day. At the time I couldn’t stop thinking about making it at home, but I thought it would have been perfect topped off with tender, grassy-sweet fresh figs — which were about as remote a possibility as they could be in snowy, blustery March. So I shelved it for the time being, and tried as best I could to be patient. (Getting married in the middle helped.)
But now my rotund little friends are here! And these parfaits I’ve been dreaming about are too. They were every bit worth the wait. Rose petal preserves could not be easier to make at home — not much more than lemon juice, sugar, water, and rose petals, and the result is a stunning, ruby-red confection with a heady perfume that makes me think of Edmund and enchanted Turkish delight. Because I can never get enough rose anything, the granola has roses in it, too — adapted from this gorgeous recipe I’ve been meaning to try from the impeccable 101 Cookbooks. And, just like I imagined, a few cut figs add a pure, clean sweetness and a softness of texture that seamlessly ties it all together. Mixed up with a good quality Greek yogurt (or some Vermont Creamery fromage blanc, a new discovery!), it makes for a light but satisfying dessert or an indulgent breakfast. Or both, like I’ve been having it lately.
I hope you’re having a wonderful home stretch of summer! If you figure out how to make it last forever, let me know.
The rose petal granola is barely adapted from this marvelous recipe by 101 Cookbooks, with almonds instead of walnuts (for no reason other than I like them) and without currants. The black pepper originally gave me pause, but don't be like me and don't be tempted to omit it -- it's the kind of extra touch that makes me marvel at the skill of other bloggers out there, and it brings out the floral notes in the granola in the most surprising, and amazing, way.
- for the rose petal preserves:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 oz (about 1/2 cup, packed) dried culinary rose petals, or 1 1/2 oz (1 1/2 cups, packed) fresh, clean petals
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp rosewater (optional, for a stronger rose flavor)
- 1/2 tsp fruit pectin (optional)
- for the granola:
- 2 cups (7 oz) rolled oats
- 3/4 cups (3 oz) sliced or slivered almonds
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- small pinch ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals, divided
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp rose water
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 1 egg white (optional)
- to assemble:
- Greek yogurt, regular yogurt of your choice, or fromage blanc
- fresh figs
- To make the rose petal preserves: First, pick over the rose petals to remove any leaves and separate the petals to ensure they release the most flavor. If using fresh petals, wash thoroughly. Combine the sugar, water, and rose petals in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, then cook for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and rosewater, if using, and continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes, or until syrup begins to thicken slightly and bubbles form a pink foam on top. For a syrupy preserve, remove from heat and jar. For a jammier, thicker consistency, add the pectin and continue to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Take care not to overcook -- even with the pectin, the consistency will still be somewhat liquid when hot, and will set much more upon cooling. I preferred mine a bit looser since it mixes into the yogurt nicely that way and gives a little room for error in cooking. Either way, pour into sterilized glass containers, seal and let cool completely or chill.
- To make the granola: Preheat the oven to 300 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the oats, almonds, salt, pepper, and half of the rose petals in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted, then stir in the honey until combined. Remove from heat and whisk in the rosewater. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until oats are well-coated, at least 30 seconds. For a clumpier granola, stir in the egg white.
- Spread the mixture evenly across the baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the granola is toasty and deeply golden. You may want to rotate the pan once to ensure even baking.
- Remove from the oven and press down on the granola with a spatula to form more clumps. Let cool completely, sprinkle with the remaining dried rose petals, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- For the parfaits: Assemble Greek yogurt, granola, rose petal preserves, and sliced fresh figs in the amount of your choice. Enjoy!
If using dried petals, the resulting preserves will be a bit chewier than with fresh petals. This didn't bother me too much, but if you'd like it to be softer, soak the petals overnight in 1 cup of water, then use the petals and water to make the jam the next day.