Fresh figs take on a shiny luster and jewel-like quality when poached in simple syrup. Use these to make our White Cake with Mincemeat Filling and Glaceed Fruit.
Using a paring knife, carefully peel figs. Leave stem attached. Bring water and 2 cups sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add figs, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover partially. Cook at a very low simmer for 15 minutes. Return to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer for 15 minutes more.
Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, stir gently, and cook until sugar dissolves. Simmer, undisturbed, until figs are translucent and tender but maintain their shape, about 45 minutes. Let cool in syrup. Drain figs on a wire rack before using.
Glaceed figs in syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.