Thursday, July 12, 2012

Figs, Cream, Cake + Red Wine Syrup

Got a great surprise this week...our sister-in-law brought us a quart of figs from her neighbor's tree. (Well, it reaches waaaay into her yard, so...) Wanting to use them right away, we put together this dessert to showcase the summer perfection of small, brown fresh figs.

Figs, Cream, Cake + Red Wine Syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of Maldon sea salt
6 sponge cake dessert cups (like Whole Foods brand)
1 cup red wine or port wine
1/2 cup cane sugar (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 vanilla bean 
pinch of Maldon sea salt
2 cups figs (cut in two, stems removed)
Easy Whipped Cream (recipe follows)

To start the toasted cake component, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter and set aside. Chop the sponge cake dessert cups into small squares and place them into a bowl. Pour on the butter and add the salt, and then stir the cake around to coat. Spread the cake onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. 

For the figs in syrup, whisk wine* and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean (cut it open by making a long slit in the bean, but keep the bean intact) and add it to the pan. Add salt. Cook this mixture on medium-high heat on the stove and whisk it often for 15-20 minutes. You should see a slightly thicker syrup forming at that point, so once liquid has reduced and is at a syrup-like consistency, set the heat to medium-low and add the figs. Gently stir them into the syrup so that they're all coated. Heat for 5 minutes and then set aside. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape its seeds into the syrup before discarding it. 

*A clearance-rack bottle of old Italian Negroamaro puzzlingly tasted exactly like port, so we used it for the syrup.

Putting the dessert together is easy. Add toasted cake to a small bowl, add figs and syrup, and then top with whipped cream. 

Easy Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk cream vigorously until slightly stiff. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Set whipped cream aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 


Bianca said...

I found a fig tree on Claybrook while running through the 'hood. It seems like no one is taking care of it and it extends into the I'm thinking of loading up.

tender b. said...

...stretches way into her yard, very nice. A great way to put those figs to use.

RayJ said...

I am unable to use alcohol in cooking, and was wondering whether you'd ever found an acceptable alternative? This dish sounds marvelous, and my wife grew up around fresh figs and loves them. Any suggestions? For this one it sounds like you're looking for something rich and aged, no?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

maybe try a good balsamic vinegar and then sweeten to taste?