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Lebanese Inspired Fig Jam

I’ve always had a fascination with Middle Eastern Cuisine from Greek to Persian, the range of spices has left my palate begging for more. So next week I’ll be showcasing a few of my middle eastern favorite dishes. But for now I have a recipe for Lebanese Fig Jam, which is a popular staple in Lebanon. What separates Lebanese Fig Jam from ours (US) is ground Mastic which can be found in Greek or Middle Eastern stores. Mastic extract comes from a tree similar to the pistachio family.

If you can’t find Mastic then anise seeds or star anise will work, just make sure to dry roast before you grind then to a powder, and by dry roasting you will bring out the intense aroma and flavor of anise, or any other seed or nut. Roast before you use and you will notice a clear difference.

So I made my Lebanese fig jam and had my friends who is also Lebanese try it. Keeping my fingers crossed, that I came close to replicating such a beloved staple and not insulting my friend by being way off base, i held my breath.

I nailed it on my first try.

This jam is so amazing at the end of this recipe is a quick summary of the sandwich I made for lunch this week, using this Lebanese Jam recipe! 


1 1/2 lbs dried figs
Fresh juice from one lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup of water
3 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, dry roasted and chopped
¼ tsp well-crushed mastic (found in Greek or Middle Eastern grocery stores) or 3 tbsp ground anise seed or star anise, dry roasted first.



Remove the stems and coarse chop the figs.

Using a medium sauce pan Bring water and lemon juice to a boil.


Carefully stir to dissolve the sugar as the water is boiling.

Add the figs, simmer and stir constantly until the figs are soft with the consistency of syrup (about 20 minutes).


Using a skillet over medium heat dry roast sesame seeds than walnuts. Next dry roast anise seeds or star anise for a few minutes before grinding to a powder, (if you do not have on hand Mastic). You don’t want to burn your seeds or nuts. After about 5 minutes you should start to smell the aroma of what you are dry roasting, so shake the skillet a bit during this time. 


Add anise seed, sesame seeds and walnuts, and simmer for three minutes.


Remove from heat, and add the ground mastic and thoroughly mix it in with the fig mixture .


If you are making a preserving, pour into clean sterile glass jar, seal immediately and follow proper rules for canning.

Prosciutto, Manchego and Fig Jam Sandwich

I love trying various cheese and breads with prosciutto with the sweet and fruity jam. So instead of using goat cheese I went with Manchego which is a cheese make from sheep’s milk. Manchego is a bit sweet and a little tart, that paired perfectly with these ingredients. I chose a whole wheat and honey oat bread to balance the cheese & prosciutto and to be different. The jam has just enough sweet countered by the licorice flavor of star anise, so don’t spread on too thick.

I also spread this jam on one side of toasted bread  added Manchego cheese on the other slice and slapped a burger patty between and hands down was this a delicious burger.



4 slices honey oat bread
3-4 oz. prosciutto
1-3 Tbsp fig jam or to taste
7-9 slices or roughly 3 oz of manchego cheese


Spread the fig jam on one slice of the bread.

Add the slices of prosciutto, then the cheese on top.

Grill on a Panini or foreman grill until the cheese has melted.



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About Dish With Clarissa

Clarissa Ellis grew up learning to cook with her mom. In a time where traditional home-cooked food was going out of style, Clarissa learned to love and make those simple 'comfort foods' and family favorites. As she grew - and her mom got busier with long work hours, Clarissa supported her mom by taking over most of the cooking duties around the home. By the time Clarissa started high school - she had absorbed her mother's approach to traditional, homestyle Italian dishes; and thanks to So Cal's great weather year round... a love of cooking on the grill. Fast forward 30 years and Clarissa has never stopped cooking. She continued to explore food, learning more from So Cal's amazing cultural variety, trying things out on her family and her friends... and always learning. Never content to merely cook a good meal, Clarissa developed the habit of talking sharing her ideas with family, friends and coworkers. After a lifetime of learning and experimenting, Clarissa's love affair with traditional Italian cooking, and 'comfort foods' has grown into a robust, creative and cross-cultural approach to cooking that still manages to remain 'accessible' to the rest of us. Now Clarissa brings her experience and her approach online through her blog - giving all of us a chance give ourselves, our friends and our family the benefits of a lifetime of passion and joy in cooking simply great meals.

7 responses »

  1. You are so ahead of the fad lately! My daughter brought me a nice slice of flatbread appetizer from a local wine shop called Vito’s. It had prosciutto, blue cheese, some glazed onions, a fig spread and possibly a different base cheese. Not sure but it was delicious! Now, I know how to make the Lebanese inspired fig jam. This is wonderful!


  2. Oh My Goodness Clarissa!!! This hits my heart and as well as my Belly 🙂
    I love fig jam, have some in the fridge right now as well as some manchego!! Love Love Love!! Thanks for posting!!


  3. I LOVE FIGS and Fig jam 🙂 in Jordan we make fig jam at the end of the summer season (fresh figs), one batch is spiced and the other has toasted sesame seeds in it! that way we can eat figs for all year round. I will make a blog post about them at the end of this summer… my mother never added mastic to the figs jam, but I will try it, i think that the flavors will go well together…


    • Hello again,
      I couldn’t find any fresh figs so I used dried, and couldn’t find the mastic either so I used star anise and toasted them before I grinded them into a powder. Please let me know when you post your mom’s fig recipe i’d love to try hers sometime.


  4. Reblogged this on Dish With Clarissa and commented:

    Made this last year for a special friend, and nailed it my first time making this easy and delicious jam! Use a whole honey wheat bread spread it on both sides, add a couple of slices of prosciutto and manchego cheese, and cook panni or grilled cheese style, you won’t be disappointed. Make a large batch and freeze for future use!



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