Could a dessert look more elegant and striking? I have to say, what a stunning treat that was so simple to make. I will share my adaptation of the original recipe with you. It is not perfect but pretty darn close.
This was not only my first time baking with figs, it was my first time eating them! Which is pretty unforgivable. When they are in season it is not for very long. These were not showcased at all so I almost missed them. This container had a big old label on it so you could not even see the figs. I just happened to notice them by accident and scooped them up for $3!
The classic appearance to figs in the food photographs I have looked at have them open-beaked which looks so beautiful. I was hoping by scoring them on the top that this would happen. I did not want to use up all the figs I had so I just used three for this recipe.
As a result, I only put 1/3 cup of the sugar in a medium skilled on medium-low heat. Which just seemed too low so I upped the heat because nothing was happening at all! Finally the sugar started to melt and become translucent. Then colour started to show up. Remember, do not touch the sugar. Just let it do its thing and watch it, closely!
The recipe says that in about 15 minutes it would turn medium amber but I know how quickly sugar darkens so when it got to a dark honey colour I took it off the heat after taking the last photo above.
See how much it darkened? I poured the entire batch of caramel over the figs that I put in an oven-proof dish on a baking tray.
Wow, I loved how it turned into golden strings! You know, it probably would have been perfect at this stage of the game. Still, you were supposed to put it in a preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes. I had read that you should never bake figs for more than 10 minutes so I took mine out after 9. So glad I did!
The beaks did not really open but boy, did the caramel ever darken! Not only that, it completely hardened. Doh! No gooey caramel sauce for me. Darn!
I topped the figs with a goopy vanilla mascarpone cream (recipe and review to come) that was absolutely divine and truly took these figs over the edge of deliciousness. Absolutely beautiful despite the dark and crunchy caramel “sauce.”
Right after I took them out of the oven Reg came home. Perfect timing! We stood in the kitchen with deft spoons, marvelling over the flavour of these mysterious beauties neither one of us had tasted before. They had gotten quite soft, so glad I took them out of the oven before they turned to mush and the caramel burned.
Now I know that I love figs and that Reg likes them too. I put them in our favourite salad the other night instead of strawberries to celebrate the change in season and Reg easily adapted and he does not like me messing with that salad.
There is something so special about working with the foods of the season and I am so glad that I finally got to indulge in a rare flavour of early fall. Autumn is here and it already tastes wonderful.