yields about 10 oz syrup and a scant cup paste
For the syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup turbinado/demerara sugar
1 cup packed dried figs [see Note], roughly chopped
For the paste:
1 tsp brandy
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/4 tsp orange extract
pinch flaked sea salt
two drops orange blossom water (optional, or substitute with a pinch orange zest)
Begin by making syrup. Heat water and turbinado in a medium pot over high heat, stirring to help dissolve sugar. As soon as it begins to boil, add chopped figs, and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let steep one hour. Strain, pressing gently on figs to extract some of the absorbed liquid. Chill syrup in an airtight container.
To make the fig paste, transfer steeped figs to a food processor bowl. Add all other paste ingredients and process to a uniform paste. Store fig paste in the refrigerator, but it's best served at room temperature and will readily soften if heated briefly in the microwave.
Note: either Calimyrna or black mission figs may be used. The former will give a gentler flavor and sweetness that is particularly nice alone, while the latter will come through a bit bolder and makes a wonderful, traditional-feeling fig bar. Both are tasty, so follow your bliss.