As if figs weren’t sweet enough and “dessert enough” at this time of year – here comes a dish that definitely gilds the lily by stuffing them with all the things we love, packed in one fat little bundle, surrounded by a shiny oozing puddle of melted dark chocolate. Whew! Got your attention? RICOTTA STUFFED DESSERT FIGS are not only drop dead delicious but the presentation is definitely one that merits Simon Cowell’s ‘”wow factor.” When you present these plump little packages at the end of your meal, the OMG’s will be audible all over the neighborhood.
These DESSERT FIGS are sooooo easy to make – you will just not believe it. You can make them even a day ahead and keep them refrigerated – so that you can concentrate on the rest of your meal preparation, all the while smugly knowing that your divinely inspired finale is all ready and waiting to be served.
The task at hand is to find some ripe juicy sweet figs. During the long season from June through October, this is far from difficult. An easy little stuffing is quickly created with just a few ingredients. Then you place some stuffing inside each fig which has been slit in a cross pattern, but not all the way through. You merely cut the fig from the top where the stem was attached 3/4 of the way down, and then turn it and do it again. Go ahead and “over stuff” them. You’ll want them to be really full and fat. After stuffing, you can refrigerate them until you are ready to serve.
You have options: At this point you have choices – you can serve the figs cool (not cold as their flavor is better with the chill off) OR you can bake them for a few minutes and served them warm. YOU CHOOSE!! Don’t you just love it when YOU can decide? I don’t know about you, but when I’m creating in the kitchen, the feeling of wandering aimlessly in uncharted territory is not exactly my comfort zone. I like to know where I’m headed and be in the driver’s seat. This is one of those times when you can create your own scenario. Warm or cool. Baked or not.
What are we waiting for? Andiamo!
RICOTTA STUFFED DESSERT FIGS
Makes: 10-12 figs
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes (if you decide to bake them)
10-12 Ripe plum juicy fresh figs –washed, patted dry, with stems removed
3/4 c. Ricotta Cheese
2 Tbsp. Powdered sugar
1/4 Tsp. Almond Extract
3 Tbsp. Coarsely Chopped Pistachios or Walnuts
2 Tbsp. Mini dark chocolate chips or coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1 tsp. Orange zest
2 Tbsp. Candied Orange Peel (optional) – chopped in small pieces. But if you want to make your own – try this Food Network Link to a great recipe for Candied Orange Peel.
Dried or Candied Cherries for the top
Honey for drizzling
Last and most important – Use a good dark chocolate melted for drizzling or puddling on the plate. I like the consistency of Lindt 70% for this. For an interesting treat – try the Lindt Intense Orange which I used for this demonstration. It has tiny pieces of orange in the chocolate and is really nice with this dessert.
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Slice your figs in a cross from the stem area 3/4 of the way down, but not all the way through as stated in the above text – first one way, then the other.
Mix together: the ricotta, powdered sugar, extract, nuts, chocolate mini chips or chopped chocolate, zest, and peel if using.
Stuff a generous spoonful into the cavity of each fig. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Just before serving, drizzle each fig with a little bit of honey.
If serving warm – Bake the figs at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
If serving cool – go to the next step.
Next – whether serving the figs warm or cool. Top with a dried candied cherry. Drizzle each fig with the melted chocolate OR puddle the melted chocolate on the plate and set a stuffed fig in the center. Serve one or two per person.
* Here’s another idea: Just add dried cherries to the stuffing and top the figs with one of the whole cherries. This really adds a different flavor to the mix and offers some versatility:
What to serve with this dessert? Pairing wines or beverages with chocolate is always fun – but there are pitfalls. It is said that the wine should be sweeter than the chocolate so the chocolate will not appear too bitter. With that in mind, for my taste, in pairing with RICOTTA STUFFED DESSERT FIGS, I think Prosecco or even an Asti Spumante would always work well. I also highly recommend a Tawny Port with these figs. However, if a red wine is preferred, Valpolicella or Syrah are good choices. What ever you do, enjoy the heck out of these jewels – the making, the serving, and above all the eating! Troppo Bella!
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography