A couple of months ago I prepared a big batch of drunken figs. The figs have been happily soaking away in Brandy and are now ready to come out and play! And if you recall, a walnut was inserted into each fig. Make no mistake, these are strong! And truthfully speaking, I cannot just pop one of these tipsy figs in my mouth as is! But when paired with cheese or dried fruits, the balance is perfect. These figs will probably last me through the holiday season as I will incorporate them into various appetizers and desserts…a little at a time!!
As an appetizer, I like to add them to a cheese and nut tray. I enjoy the taste of dried apricots with figs. The texture is soft, the flavor is intense. Spread with a strong blue cheese on a cracker or crostini and they taste wickedly good.
For a dessert, I’ve incorporated them into one of my favorite quick dessert treats. Fresh ricotta is pretty much always in my frig, along with organic cream. To make an elegant and easy dessert, beat 1 pound of ricotta until very smooth. Ricotta can taste grainy if not whipped really well. To add sweetness to the ricotta, blend in about ¼ cup of fig preserves (or more to your preferred sweetness). I also added a few tablespoon of the brandy from the jar. Stir in chopped dried apricots, nuts or any other dried fruit. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.
Separately, beat 1 cup of whipping cream with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Store separately, combining with the ricotta mixture about 2 hours ahead of serving time. For a sweet syrup topping, I reduced about ¼ cup of the brandy to half, allowing to cool and refrigerate. When ready to serve, I placed the combined ricotta and whipped cream mixture in a large serving bowl. Topped with a few cut figs and a drizzle of the syrup. Scoop into individual dessert cups and serve.
If you do not have drunken figs, dried figs can be used on a cheese plate as well as using chopped dried figs in the dessert. The dried figs will soften nicely in the ricotta.