Recommends using a heavy-bottomed 9-inch saute pan, 3 inches deep.
Spread the sugar in the bottom of the pan, and pour in ½ cup water and the lemon juice.
Set the figs in the pan, stem up, in one layer; nestle the strips of lemon zest and bay leaves in between the figs.
Set the pan over low heat; cook slowly until the sugar melts and the figs release their juices.
As the juices rise in the pan, gradually increase the heat to keep them bubbling.
When the figs are soft and the liquid levels come halfway up their sides, about 30 minutes or more, turn off the heat, and let the figs rest in the pan for 1 hour or so, to reabsorb some of the juices.
Slowly heat the figs and juices until they are bubbling again, and cook for 30 minutes or so, until the figs are very soft, but still intact and the juices have become thick and syrupy.
Let the figs cool before serving; arrange them in a serving dish if you like, with the syrup all around.
Enjoy the fruit and syrup on their own, or top with vanilla ice cream.