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Wash figs and remove stems carefully just to the base with a tiny bit remaining. (this will help the fig keep its shape and you will have a beautiful finished product.) The figs should be whole and ripe but still firm, Don't use over-ripe, broken or torn figs. Day 1 : Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a gentle boil, covered and then lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour. You don't want the figs to break so don't move them around too much, but you can gently stir them every ten minutes or so, to keep them moist on top. After 1 hour of cooking is over, turn off heat and cover. Do not remove from pan. Let figs sit 24 hours. Day 2 : Bring figs to a boil again in the same pan and simmer for 1/2 hour. Turn off stove and cover as before and let sit for 24 hours again. Day 3 : Bring figs to a boil in the same pan and simmer for 1/2 hour again. Let figs cool, and gently transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Don't pack them together like sardines, but you should be able to get 25 on a sheet depending on the size of your figs. Extra juices should be skimmed off with a spoon, or you will end up with fig-brittle! Place the pans in a low oven, 150 to 200 degrees F depending on your oven, for 24 hours, check them after 12 hours, you don't want them to cook, just to dry. They should still be fairly soft and hard to pick up by hand at this stage. If they already seem like dried apricots at this stage, turn the oven to the lowest setting and proceed immediately to day 4 instructions. Day 4 : Turn figs over carefully to dry the other side for 24 more hours. They should still be soft, but fairly easy to pick up and turn over with your fingers. When they are done, they will be a bit sticky. They should be chewy, with a similar texture to dried apricots or raisins. If you end up with hard and dry figs, don't despair! Chop them up and give to friends as ice cream topping! Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a year. You can double this recipe, but use a very big pan because you don't want the figs to be crushed or broken. It doesn't hurt the taste but the finished product will be much prettier.
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