Fresh Figs in Nightgowns On one of the hottest days of the year, in my air-conditionless pantry, my Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) had become the consistency of molten chocolate. As it is quite sweet, I mixed it with yogurt, and one by one dipped a whole basket of fleshy purple figs into the mixture. I placed them in the refrigerator, whereupon the coating firmed up to make a very seductive dessert. My husband named them. Almost all of the fresh figs grown in the U.S. come from California.
12 large ripe purple fresh figs 1 cup Nutella 1-1/2 cups plain yogurt Wash figs and pat dry. Set aside. Put Nutella in a warm place so that it is easy to spoon. Or place the jar in a bowl of very hot water. Spoon yogurt into a clean bowl. Whisk in 1 cup Nutella until completely smooth. One by one, dip each fig into the mixture, holding it by its stem. Cover each fig completely or almost completely with a thin coating. Place on a large plate lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate until very cold. Serve with a few tablespoons of plain yogurt alongside. Present on fresh fig, grape or lemon leaves. Serve immediately with a fork and a knife. Serves 4
Fresh Figs & Shaved Halvah with Warm Honey Syrup Here's an unorthodox but compelling combo of luscious fresh figs and thin slices of nutty halvah, a dense confection that resembles, at times, shards of cheese. This dish offers a good opportunity to try an interesting variety of honey such as wild thyme, linden or leatherwood honey (from Australia.)
1/2 cup fragrant honey 12 ripe large black or green figs, or a combination 6-ounce chunk of pistachio, or other flavor, halvah handful of fresh red currants, chopped pistachios, or slivered spearmint
Combine the honey and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Wash the figs and cut them in half, lengthwise. Arrange, cut side up, on 4 large plates. Cut the halvah into paper-thin slices. Drizzle the honey on the figs and scatter the halvah on and around the figs. Garnish with currants or nuts, or spearmint. Serves 4