Thursday, 1 October 2015

Sweet Temptations

Fichi al Forno con Zucchero Profumato di Cardamomo, Anice Stellato & Cannella con Ricotta Fresca 
Baked Figs with Cardamom, Star Anise & Cinnamon Sugar and Fresh Ricotta


I know that you all noticed that I bought 4 figs on Saturday and only used 2 of them when I made my fig and Gorgonzola tortillas on Monday evening... And here is what happened to the other couple!

With a little flick of the wrist, (well, a little grind with my mortar and pestle), I transformed these 2 simple little fruits into 2 sources of pure temptation... Evil, ain't I?


Unbelievably, all I needed to create these amazing desserts was... Well... Definitely a lot less in quantity than you would think and also a lot less work!

With some good intuition and ideas, good products to begin with and the good common sense to remember that less is always more... I managed to make these treats that you can enjoy, guilt-free and greedily!

I think you might like that aspect of this!


Here we go- 2 figs, 2 tablespoons of fresh ricotta, 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 cardamom pod, 1 point of a star anise, a little cinnamon and a few leaves of mint. That's all. Oh wow! Let's get started, right?!!?!


With beautiful, juicy, fresh figs like this, you don't need much more sweetness... And you will be surprised to find how far that 1 teaspoon of sugar will stress after being ground with those lovely spices... And how fragrant and delicious it becomes!


Remove the cardamom seeds from the pod, snap off 1'point of a star anise and add them, together with a little cinnamon to your 1 teaspoon of regular, granulated sugar and grind as finely as you can... Until you have a wonderfully fragrant, fine confectioners sugar... This is very quick and easy to do.


Turn on your grill function in the oven to get it nice and hot before you begin with the figs, then simply cut them twice, so that they open up in 4 points like this, sprinkle them generously with the powdered sugar before adding them to the pan, then place them onto the stove top on a high heat to get them sizzling before you pop them into the oven.


The reason to add the sugar before you pop the figs into the pan is that you don't want to have TOO much excess sugar on the surface of the pan, or it will burn and become bitter... If you look closely here, you will see that this has happened a little.

Grill for 5-6 minutes until the sugar melts and gets soaked into the surface of the figs. You will see the fig juice begin to bubble and the sugar begin to caramelize... Once that has begun to happen they are done!

At that point, I added my almonds to the pan and let th m toast for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and set them to one side to add as a garnish.


Baked and finished, juicy and delicious and aromatic with the sugar and spice... And already a work of art in itself! But we can do a little bit better than that, right?

With 1 tablespoon of ricotta added to the center of each, a sprinkle of toasted almond and a sprinkle of the remaining powdered sugar on top... These really are the kind of desserts you can serve with pride!

And yes, you will find you even have sugar left over, even after doing all this... So these are absolutely not sinful excesses by any means... And I like that!


Don't try to resist... What would be the point? Go ahead and make then and enjoy! You know you want to!

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