I've been dying to make something with the figs in the Italian Centre Shop.
Well. Let me rephrase that.
I've been dying to make something besides the fig and honey tart I made (out of Tamasin Day-Lewis' book Art of the Tart) which I had been longing to make for simply ages and which I buggered up beyond belief.
Even my husband wouldn't eat it. And that's saying something. The man I married will scarf down kilos of raw puff pastry dough. But not the horrible tart I made. It really was that gross.
But I still wanted to make something with the figs.
The reason I am so abnormally excited by figs is that I was so darn certain that I would never, ever find fresh figs in Edmonton that I have been losing sleep over the perfect thing to do with them. I used to love going to the Prahran Market in Melbourne to shop for the nicest produce and meats. And while I was there, nearly every Saturday, I would stop at one of the amazing delis and buy just one honey-marinated-mascarpone-stuffed-dried mission fig. Those figs, in fact, were the first figs I ever ate. So you see, figs have always been associated with honey and mascarpone for me.
The deal was clinched when, out for lunch earlier in the week, I has a divine guava and fig creme brulee. I had been contemplating a lavender honey creme brulee for Sugar High Friday, a monthly themed dessert-making blog-fest, but my fatalistic approach to cooking clearly was pointing me toward this instead. This month's honey-themed SHF is hosted by Nic from BakingSheet.
This honey and fig creme brulee tastes musky-sweet and delicate. The custard is light and fragile, perfect under the hard candy shell. The slightly musky, delicate and mysterious flavour of fresh figs always makes me think of caravans, brightly coloured lanterns and white tents blowing in a nighttime desert breeze. At least you won't get sand in your creme brulee though.
This would make a great ending to any meal, but I think it would be truly outstanding after a citrusy fish course.
- 6 fresh figs, topped, tailed and sliced thinly
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- 80 ml honey
- 120 ml white sugar
- 9 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 1 - 2 centimetre piece ginger
- 250 ml cream
- 125 ml milk
- 125 ml fresh mascarpone
Set 8 slices of fig aside gently. Briefly heat remaining sliced figs with water in saucepan over medium heat until they just are warm and begin to break up. Puree cooked figs in blender. To pureed figs add sugar, honey, rosewater and yolks and egg. Puree further until frothy. Turn blender off and allow to rest. Heat milk, cream, mascarpone and ginger in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until combined and scalded. Remove ginger piece and discard. Turn blender on to medium speed and pour hot milk through the hole in the lid. Once all the hot milk is in, blend for 20 seconds more and turn off.
Place 4 - 1 cup ramekins into a Pyrex 9 x 14 inch cake pan and add enough water to the pan to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Place two fig slices at the bottom of each ramekin and pour brulee liquid from blender into ramekins leaving one centimetre of space at the top.
Carefully place pan in oven and bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges but the centres are still jiggly. Remove whole pan from oven and let the ramekins cool in the water bath. They will continue to cook in the hot water. Once the water is cool, remove the ramekins and allow them to cool in the refrigerator for a further two hours or up to two days. When you are ready to serve them, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of white sugar on their tops and use a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar. serve immediately.