Ever so often, when I go to the greengrocer's I get seduced by a tray of big soft figs and the other day was such an occasion. They weren't fragrant, but were soft and seemed perfectly ripe, so I bought four with the thought of making a second attempt at caramelising them. Click here for the first failed attempt.
Also, I've been catching up on Celebrity MasterChef 2010 and have had loads of inspiration. In fact, I went and bought a notepad yesterday, to write down my ideas.
But back to the figs. The top hits on google for caramelised figs didn't seem quite right to me. But having watched berries be dry fried in cast iron pans with sticks of cinnamon and vanilla pods and star anise and being sprinkled with sugar, I decided to give it a try.
I skipped the spices though, they looked very pretty in the pan, but without liquid to transfer the flavour, I doubt very much that they'd do their job.
So, I washed and quartered the figs and had to be very careful, they were extremely soft and easy to squash. In the mean time I heated up my trusty pan on medium.
All the quarters went in and were sprinkled with 3 tbsp of caster sugar to add sweetness and 3 tbsp of dark brown soft sugar to add flavour, it's not really sweet on its own.
Then carefully stirring around to get the fruit coated with a little bit of the caramel that started forming pretty quickly. I took the pan off after a couple of minutes to prevent the sugar from burning and kept stirring for another minute or two.
And we had them for dessert after our salad tonight. Lundulph had seconds on them. They were good, even if they weren't as aromatic as the ones we've had in Bulgaria.
But they are most definitely a work in progress, I think quite a few things were missing to make them a good dessert, though I'm not entirely sure what is missing. Lundulph suggested maybe some balsamic vinegar. I'd toyed with the idea of red wine, so I might try both out, a lot of the caramel remained in the pan, so something to deglaze it would be good an form some sort of sauce. Perhaps it can be reduced with some spices like cinnamon etc.