Fig-Leaf Cordial, a refreshing drink made from fig leaves

This cordial is reputed to have curative properties for coughs and colds —  and is tasty as well.

From Maria Cecília de Melo Jorge, from Projecto Memoria Macaense, created by Rogério P.D. da Luz. Click HERE to read the original article (in Portuguese)

30 fig leaves
2 lb 3oz | 1 kg rock sugar
(or 3 lb 5 oz | 1.5 kg granular sugar)
Optional: Egg whites (to clarify)

Wash the fig leaves and scrub each one with a brush1. Flatten them and, with a sharp knife, trim off all the stalks.

Soak the leaves in clean, cold water for at least 12 hours with some weight (such as a plate) on top to ensure they are under water. Put the fig leaves and the liquid in which they were immersed in a large pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the leaves and squeeze them to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh fabric and measure its quantity to calculate the amount of sugar required2. Add the sugar, bring back to the boil and simmer for an hour and a half or until it becomes a syrup.

Scald storage bottles well to sterilise them. After cooking, the syrup is lightened with a clarified with egg white3, allowed to cool and poured into the bottles. Cork the bottles and store a cool, dry and place.

Fig syrup is served simply, but very cold, mixed with water and ice cubes.

1 To clean and perhaps to roughen the leaves and facilitate the release of the sap.

2 The quantity is unclear; probably what is meant is that for 30 leaves, 2 lb 3oz | 1 kg of rock sugar is required, with enough water to dissolve the sugar; the liquid is then rendered down to 34 US fl oz | 1 litre. Be careful not to overcook and take the syrup to toffee stage.

3Lightly whisk the white of an egg and stir it through the cooled liquid. When the liquid is reheated the egg white binds impurities; skimming off the white leaves a clearer liquid. This process may have to be repeated for a perfect finish.

Xarope de Folhas de Figueira by Maria Celestina de Mello e Senna. To read the original article (in Portuguese), click HERE.

600g Chinese sugar crystals (peng tong)
12-14 fig leaves
2 egg whites, beaten to peak stage
1 litre water

Wash the leaves, break into pieces and cook in water for some time. Remove and discard at least half the leaves and add the sugar crystals.
Strain, bring back to the boil and simmer until thick. Before removing from the stove, throw in the egg whites to clarify the syrup.
Strain and store in bottles.

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