The plump, dark purple figs of late, late September prove that dessert has neither to be complicated nor particularly sweet. As inevitable autumn settles in with its daily morning mist — the last ripe figs lay neatly arranged in fruit crates at vegetable stalls for the taking. Take them home by the armful if you stumble upon them at your local market.
- two fresh purple figs
- the juice of one orange
- one teaspoon of raw honey
Heat a skillet at medium heat. Wash the figs and cut them in half. Lay the figs cut side down in the heated skillet. The figs will release their juices and start to caramelize. Squeeze the juice of an orange over the figs and allow it to reduce by half. Stay close to the skillet as the figs can burn easily. Once the garnet-colored syrup made from the combination of fig juice and orange starts to bubble, turn off the heat. Drizzle the honey over the warm figs and pour the figs on to a plate.
Serve the figs as an appetizer instead of dessert. Tuck them into bitter lettuces like arugula or red chard, adding some peppery extra virgin olive oil and a few raspberries for added tartness.
Soak the caramelized figs in homemade balsamic vinegar syrup, allowing them to soak up the vinegar syrup for up to two days in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Serve the marinated figs with toasted bread and fresh ricotta.
If you have orange-infused honey in your cupboard, use it as a replacement for the simple honey in the recipe.