The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Stagnola Blu Stuffed Black Figs
with Awards

Candied and boozed up, these late summer or early Fall treats are a snap to
 put together.And they can play equally well as an appetizer as they do dessert.

In the States, California produces nearly all of the fresh fig population with a season
 spanning May through January. Along with many dried varieties available year round.

Figs have long been used for medicinal purposes through out history and in many
 cultures.They are high in nutrients with no cholesterol, fat or salt. Also being a good
 source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them quite an excellent snack.

The fruit as we know it is actually a false fruit and are the inverted flowers of the
 Ficus Carica tree or common fig tree. Once the fresh fig is cut open, the meaty strings
 are the flowers containing an individual seed. These individual sections are the
 true fruit. They are also the only fruit to be fully ripened on the tree until semi dried. 
The dried variety is allowed to fully ripen and naturally fall off of the tree until dried.

We’ve used a creamy variety of blue cheese here known as Stagnola Blu. This cheese
 has a creamy buttery texture with a slightly nutty and sharp palate, making it a 
perfect partner for the sweet fleshy interior of the fig. However any similar 
soft cheese will work well here.

What you will need:
1 lb fresh organic black figs, or other variety
4 ounces Stagnola Blu, or other creamy blue cheese
4 ouncesraw sugar crystals, halved
2 ounces pistachio nutmeat, ground
8 ounces plum brandy, halved
2 ounces water, halved

Let's get cooking:
With a sharp pairing knife remove the upper stem of each fig, then cut cross wise
 to nearly the bottom of each fig. Allow figs to fall open into a flower and place a small
 amount of cheese into the center of each fig.

Sprinkle with 1/2 of the sugar and the ground pistachios. Then press each fig back into 
shape and place into a baking dish, stacking them closely together.

Drizzle pan with 1/2 of the plum brandy and 1/2 of the water. Bake uncovered in a
 pre- heated oven at 325 degrees (f)  for 5-8 minutes, or until softened and juices 
begin to flow but cheese is still firm.

In the meantime prepare a syrup using remaining sugar, plum brandy and water 
by placing in a small sauce pan. Bring the syrup mixture to a boil over medium/high
 heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Arrange prepared figs as desired and drizzle with plum brandy syrup, 
then serve immediately.
Note: If using dry figs, place liquids in a pan and bake loosely covered in oven
 for 8-10 minutes prior to stuffing. Allow to cool to touch then stuff 
before serving and drizzle with syrup.

This recipe was earlier a featured article on Honest Cooking.

The Awards

We were honored with this fist award "Cute Little Chef Award"
by my dear friend Elisabeth of  Food and Thrift, a  beautiful 
blog with one delicious delight after another.

The second award "Cherry on "Top Award" was passed
onto us by Tina of Flourtrader, a fantastic place to get
your baking fix along with a good dose of fun.

If you are not already acquainted with these wonderful ladies
and their sites, I encourage you to pop over and drool for awhile!

And don't forget to enter our giveaway here to win your very own
copy of the cookbook "An Epiphany of the Senses". Enter by
leaving a comment on that post on or before
Sunday October 3rd Midnight PST US!

Alisha ~ Magic of Spice

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