Christina, one of my dear friends in New York is seeing figs everywhere and told me I should offer up a recipe. She’s always full of good ideas.
Our mutual friend Sophia visited me in Greece last year at the end of August, and we took advantage of all the fresh figs in season. We spent the night inside talking, drinking wine, and making a simple recipe: Figs stuffed with mozzarella, wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with olive oil and baked! Once baked, a little drizzle of honey doesn’t hurt. We had a lovely girls night. Our happy time in the kitchen was marked with red wine stains and fig flesh.
Every time I eat figs it feels like an indulgence. There is an inherent lusciousness and exotic quality to this fruit.
The Bengali saying: (tumi jeno dumurer phool hoe gele) “You have become invisible like the dumur flower” alludes to the invisible fig flower! Invisible? Yes, because the flower of the fig is actually inside the fruit. Verrrrrry mysterious.
Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. They also have lots of antioxidants. So ignore the high content of sugar and carbs! 😉
When visiting my village of Menetes every summer, most homes have an overflowing bowl of figs for guests to enjoy. They are usually freshly picked from their own family’s fig tree. Everyone likes to feel that their own tree produces the best figs!
Even back in Athens, we have a fig tree that I pick at from my balcony when in season. Simple pleasures!
Many fig recipes pair the fruit with blue cheese, honey and walnuts. I enjoy all this options, but prefer the combination of fig with orange as well as caramel in fall or winter months. So this is a recipe I pieced together…
ORANGE POACHED FIGS OVER CARAMEL PUDDING
For Poached Figs:
- 1lb. figs (1/2 kilo)
- 1 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
- 1/8 cup sugar or 2 tbs honey
Boil the orange juice with sugar or honey until it is reduced to 1/3 cup. Place quartered figs into a baking dish with the reduced liquid poured over it. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Reserve the orange liquid.
For the Pudding:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of the milk, and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then whisk in egg yolks.
Stir sugar and 1/3 cup water in large saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Boil, and brush down pan sides with wet pastry brush. Continue boiling without stirring until syrup is deep amber around 10 minutes. You can swirl the pan occasionally. Add 2 cups milk (mixture will bubble, don’t worry)! Whisk until caramel bits dissolve. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture; return to same pan. Whisk until pudding thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Chill uncovered until the pudding is cold and slightly firm, around 3 hours.
This can be a nice meal in both cold and warm weather, as it can be served either cold or warm. Personally, when I make pudding, I eat it warm out of the pot! 🙂
*To plate- in ring molds, pipe or spread pudding within whatever shape you like in the middle of the plate. Once you lift off the molds, drape the figs however you like over and on the side of the pudding.
Drizzle some of the orange poaching liquid attractively on the plate. and garnish with candied oranges and toasted sliced almonds for extra texture and flavor.
Let me know how you liked it if you try the recipe!
*note- I’ve replaced Friday Desserts with Friday Friandises- In the spirit of alliteration. 🙂
Friandises means sweets or petit fours.