Tomorrow on the Market Report, Laura Avery talks to Robert Wemischner about figs. Wemischner teaches the Professional Baking course at LA Trade Tech College and he is the author of four books on baking. He’s now working on his fifth book. The recipe below for Caramelized Figs with Goat-Cheese/Mascarpone Crema and Sweet Basil Sauce comes from his 4th book, The Dessert Architect. He has also generously shared several other ideas for using figs…
- Figs poached in a spiced syrup (cloves, cinnamon) and then served with well chilled Moscato d’Asti wine
- Black mission fig ice cream (make a puree of the figs with a bit of sugar and water; cool and then puree and the swirl into the ice cream).
- Baked fig tart–short pastry dough with a filling of pistachio cream–a mixture of pistachio nuts, sugar, butter, eggs and a bit of flour, with a touch of almond extract). Put the pistachio cream into the raw dough in a tart pan, top with halved or quartered figs (the Celestial yellow figs and the purple Black Missions look great together, alternating circles of each in the tart). Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and then bake until crust is deep brown and the figs are caramelized. Cool and serve.
- Fresh figs with warmed lavender honey and freshly ground black pepper
- Salad: Crisped thin strips of chorizo strewn into an arugula salad with quartered fresh figs, dressed with a vinaigrette made from fragrant olive oil and sherry wine vinegar
- Summer rumaki:Wrap some bacon around a halved fig stuffed with goat cheese and then baked at high heat
- Croute of pulled (shredded) confited duck with a few slices of fresh fig atop a toasted croute of French bread
- Bleu cheese souffle—bury a fresh fig in a deep souffle ramekin and cover with the cheese souffle mixture; bake until puffed and golden and then serve
Caramelized Figs with Goat-Cheese/Mascarpone Crema and Sweet Basil Sauce
From The Dessert Architect by Robert Wemischner (Cengage, 2010)
Yield: twelve servings, one large fig each (You can halve or third the recipe, as you wish, to yield a smaller amount of servings.
For Caramelized figs:
12 oz grams Large fresh figs, either purple or green skinned variety
2 oz unsalted butter
approx 2 oz sugar or honey
From the stem end, using a small sharp knife, separate each fig into five equal “petals.” In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and sear each petal, turning once to brown both sides, adding sugar and honey. Caramelize briefly and then remove them from the pan. The fig petals should remain intact and should have a golden color on each cut side. Set aside. Tip: Alternatively, a torch may be used to caramelize the figs after they have been sautéed, if you would like the figs to have a deeper, more caramelized color.
For Goat cheese-mascarpone crema
Yield: Twelve servings, each 1.75 oz.
11 oz Fresh soft goat cheese
8 oz mascarpone
2 oz simple syrup (equal parts granulated sugar and water, boiled until sugar dissolves; let cool before using)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, outfitted with the paddle attachment, cream the goat cheese and mascarpone until well blended. Add simple syrup and continue blending until well incorporated. Refrigerate mixture until ready to plate the dessert. Tip: Instead of piping the mixture free form into coiled pyramids for a rustic presentation, if desired, the mixture may be piped into small demispherical silicone molds and then frozen for easy removal. Once frozen, remove from the molds, place the crema mounds onto a parchment lined sheet pan and refrigerate until ready to serve the dessert.
For the Fresh sweet basil sauce
Yield: approximately 5 ounces, twelve servings, less than 1⁄2 ounce per serving
1.2 oz frsh basil leaves, washed and dried gently
4 oz simple syrup
Blanch basil leaves in boiling water just until they brighten in color. Drain immediately, place briefly in ice water to set the color. Remove from ice water, gently squeeze out excess moisture and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender with simple syrup. Process until small flecks of basil leaf remain. Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle, covered, and refrigerate until ready to plate the dessert.