Brandied figs poached in honey, orange juice and anise, served with a scoop of orange zested mascarpone.
Some foods were born to be together. Some examples of 1 + 1 = 3 are:
Chocolate chip cookies & milk
Peanut butter & jelly
Apples & cheddar cheese
The combination of their flavors elevates each food component to a level it can’t get to on its own. They bring out the best in each other, like a trusted best friend. For me, ‘figs & honey’ is in that category, and if you throw in a little orange, brandy, and mascarpone – well I’m just about in Heaven.
This is a recipe that recently won a Wild Card pick on FOOD52. It’s super easy to make, and the components can be done ahead and assembled on the plate just before serving. I’ve made it several times, but this time I made it with the killer homemade mascarpone I made a couple of days ago, and added some orange zest to the whipped Cream instead of lemon. Killer.
- If you don’t have Meyer lemons, just use a little extra orange juice and a squirt of regular lemons.
- Alternatives to the anise seed are star anise, half of a cinnamon stick, or a few crush pods of cardamom.
- The fig compote is great on its own, with the mascarpone, or over a scoop of honey ice cream.
- 16 dried figs
- 1 cup brandy, or enough to cover and macerate the figs
- ¼ cup water
- 5 ounces plus 2 Tbsp honey (I used orange blossom honey)
- ¼ tsp anise seed
- 4 strips of orange peel (removed with a potato peeler)
- 7 ounces orange juice
- juice from ¼ of small Meyer lemon
- pinch salt
- 8 tart shells (optional)
- ⅓ cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp mascarpone cheese (or make your own!)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
- Orange zest from ½ navel orange
- 1 squeeze of orange juice
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Macerate the dried figs in the brandy, water and 2 tablespoons of honey overnight. There should be enough liquid to cover the figs.
- In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine the remaining honey with the orange juice, peel, anise seed, lemon juice and salt. Stem and slice the figs in half, and add to the honey mixture.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to a glaze-like mixture - about 15-20 minutes. The figs should be very soft, but still holding their shape. Turn the figs carefully with a large metal spoon during the simmering process to completely cover them with the honey-orange juice. Cool slightly.
- Whip the whipping cream to a medium peak using a hand or standing mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat for about 20 - 30 seconds until it is the consistency of whipped cream.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place a quenelle of Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream on a small plate and arrange several figs around it.