This simple and vibrant dessert is easy to make. It takes just 20 minutes and you have an indulgent, fragrant, Middle Eastern inspired fig dessert with creamy mascarpone cheese on the side. Serve it as a sweet snack or as a dessert.
Have you ever tried a fig? That sweet, juicy and luscious little purple teardrop from heaven? If you haven’t had the chance, now is the best time to do it. In September, figs are in-season and taste incredible. Also, these amazing teardrops are packed with minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A and K. By eating them, you decrease your risk of heart disease and help manage your blood sugar levels. All the best stuff, correct?
I know I tell a lot of stories about Lithuania, but life in a post-soviet country is so different compared to the rest of the world. It will come as no surprise, that in my home-country you couldn’t buy figs in a shop. Anywhere. This is why figs are still relatively new to me. The first time I tried them was only a couple of years ago, when I went to a restaurant with a tasting menu. One of the dishes was goats’ cheese and fig salad. I am not lying to you, but that taste… it was so surprisingly unexpected! The sweetness from the figs and saltiness from the cheese woke up every single taste bud! Those little teardrops amazed me, and now, there is no season when I don’t buy them for a simple salad, afternoon treat or for a scrumptious dessert.
When I was reading more about figs and flavour combinations, I found out that honey and figs is a match made in heaven. No matter how you eat them, add a drop of this golden, runny goodness and the flavours will be elevated to the next level. In addition, I recommend adding some crunch with figs. They do not have a crispy texture and are more like a mush (in the best possible way). By adding nuts, such as pistachios or roasted almonds you will create a cohesive structure which is so important for a good meal.
Lastly, if you’ve decided to give it a go and make a dessert with figs, the recipe below would be a perfect choice. It is easy to make, so delicious and succulent with the dripping honey sauce. Cinnamon and star anise further provide the Middle Eastern fragrance which, in some kind of magical way, feels so surreal and mysterious.
Don’t forget that you can skip rum if you don’t want to use alcohol in your dessert. Also, you can swap mascarpone for Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, double cream. Or for a vegan version, you can use coconut yogurt. Everything tastes incredible!
How to choose and store figs
For the best taste, you need to choose soft figs. There can be some bruises on the skin but avoid big cracks or dry fruits. Don’t buy them if they are unripe, as because of the complexity of these magical fruits, they won’t ripen on your windowsill. Also, avoid testing figs buy squishing them. They have very thin skin so this can damage the fruit.
Figs do not like a cold environment, so after you buy them, you need to eat them in the next couple of days. If you end up putting them in the fridge, take them out and bring them back to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you eat. These fruits really like warm conditions and this way they can develop more flavour.
To be honest, the first time I bought these purple drops, I googled how to eat them. I didn’t know if I could eat the skin, bake them, or eat them raw. So, if you’re like me, and have the same questions, let me help you. First of all, the skin is very thin so you can eat the fruit with it. Personally, I eat just the flesh – the best part of the fruit. They are delicious when they are served raw (with goat cheese or mozzarella), but you can also bake, roast, caramelize or fry them.
200g mascarpone cheese
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
3 star anise
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
- Prepare the sauce for the figs: melt the butter and honey. Add rum, cinnamon and star anise. Mix everything together.
- Cut a cross in the top of each fig, almost but not quite to the bottom. Gently open them out slightly so that the red flesh is exposed. Put the figs on an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce on top of the figs.
- Bake the figs for 15 minutes.
- After the figs are baked, let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Add a dollop of mascarpone on a plate and place figs on a top. Pour some sauce and sprinkle crushed pistachios.