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BUTTERED & CARAMELISED FIGS

In August the fig trees are so replete with fruit that the birds and I between us cannot eat them all. Caramelised Fig Jam has been made, kilos of fruit have been dried, some figs have been transformed into chutney, and as many as one can eat have been eaten – with Ham, with salty cheese, in salads and just on their own. I have successfully used them to make a Fig Tart – you will find the recipe for that in a previous post – but need a new dessert recipe.

This experiment was a success and as the August figs are so sweet, doesn’t need any added sugar. The key to getting it right is not to be afraid to keep cooking. If you stop cooking too early the figs will not have a caramel flavour, so if you let them cool a bit and taste them and they don’t seem done enough, don’t worry, just put them back on the heat and cook some more until they have a faint caramel aroma and a stickiness where they are in contact with the heat at the bottom of the pan.

I have now made this dessert twice, and the second time served the figs still warm with fresh cream and the warm toasted hazel nuts, which was very good too.

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Per person

5 ripe figs

10 grams of butter

Wash the figs and dry them in a tea towel.

Cut off the stems and cut the figs into quarters.

Warm the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the figs.

Cook stirring on a medium heat. The fruit will start to give out some of its juices, continue cooking until these have evaporated.

Keep stirring and cooking until the fruit mixture is dryer and is frying in the butter.

The sugar in the fruit will now start to get hotter and be heading towards caramelising. Keep cooking until you can detect the caramel aroma. The fig mixture will get dryer and tend to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, but keep going until they are nice and toffee flavoured.

Do not be tempted to taste the figs at this point, they are very hot.

Leave to cool until warm.

Put into ramekin dishes and smooth the tops. Leave to cool to room temperature.

In the frying pan toast to golden some broken and crushed hazel nuts. Leave to cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve loosen the fig mixture from the sides of the dishes with a knife, put a plate on top and upturn the whole to end up with the fig compote on the plate. The butter should stop the fig mix from sticking to the ramekin.

Serve with ice cream and the hazel nuts scattered over.

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