Figs with Mascarpone

Figs with Mascarpone, via Make It Like a Man!
Makes about 30-35 servings

Figs with Mascarpone are beautiful, delicious, unusual, and simply among the most sensual things you’ll probably ever pop in your mouth. The chewiness and depth of the fig, the cool creaminess of the cheese, the crunchiness of the nuts and fig seeds, the sweet stickiness of the honey … your mouth won’t know what to do with itself.

Two figs per person would be reasonable, 4 would be a lot. My ingredient list, below, uses up an entire container of mascarpone, creating a tray large enough that you’ll feel comfortable bringing it to a pot luck or a party.

Figs with Mascarpone makes a luscious hors d’oeuvre or dessert.

Jump to RecipeJump to Spiced Honey Variation

Ingredients

21 oz. dried mission figs[1] (about 75 figs)
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
8 oz. salted pistachios[2] roasted and salted, in the shell
Honey
Toothpicks – the kind you see at parties

Directions

Figs with Mascarpone, via Make It Like a Man!

1. Slice the stem off each fig. Starting at the point where the stem used to be, slice each fig half-way to the bottom. Use your fingers to gently pry the fig completely open. When you release it, the fig will retract part or most of the way; that’s OK.

2. Find a serving plate. I use a flat, round plate, 10-11″ in diameter, with a small lip.

3. Do the following steps with one fig:

a. Using a ½-tsp measure, scoop out a moderately-heaping spoonful of mascarpone, and scrape it into a fig. Use the back of the measuring spoon to push the cheese down into the fig if you have to, which should force the halves apart somewhere between 12.5 and 45 degrees. Do this gently. You want the cheese to stay mostly in the opening of the fig; if it comes squishing out the sides, scrape it back in. (Particularly large figs might need a bit more cheese to appear “filled.”) Read the next step before filling any more figs.

b. This is meant to be a bite-sized item. Figs vary in size. Give this first fig some thought for a moment. It’s intended to be a pretty decent mouthful, but not cumbersome. If you think your figs are going to be too big, see footnote.[3] If you’re not sure, pop that thing in your mouth. If you’ve think you’ve got a good thing going on, go to the next step.

4. Continue filling the figs. As you do each one, place it on the serving platter, starting in the center and working your way out in a spiral. Orient each fig so that the cheese is facing up; the cheese is just sticky enough that as you press them gently up against one another, they’ll hold one another upright. Don’t worry about precision; a bit messy actually looks great.

Figs with Mascarpone, via Make It Like a Man!

5. Shell the pistachios. Reserve ½-cup. Chop the rest. Chopping is going to create some chopped nuts, obviously, but also some pistachio “dust.” Use just the chopped nuts; discard the dust. Shake them around in a fine-mesh sieve if you have to, in order to leave that dust behind. Sprinkle the nuts over the figs. Scatter the reserved whole nuts around the perimeter. The figs can be prepared to this point, and refrigerated until serving time.

6. Just before serving, drizzle with honey,[4] just enough so that every fig has a drizzle. To eat, spear one with a toothpick and pop the whole thing in your mouth.

Spiced Honey Variation

I want to assure you that the figs will be absolutely delightful without this variation, but in case you do want a twist, try this.

Ingredients

⅓ cup mild honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice

Directions

Place everything in a small pot and heat over lowest flame, whisking to blend, until the honey is warms and thins, 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool. Use this as your drizzling honey.

Notes

These figs taste great leftover, but they’re most attractive when fresh.

[1] Figs: Black Mission figs look the best against the colors of the cheese and nuts. But any type of fig will work.
[2] Pistachios: Don’t be tempted to use pre-shelled pistachios. They are not nearly as tasty as the ones that come in the shell.
[3] Size: If you need to make these smaller, do this: after you’ve removed the stem, cut each fig completely in half, top to bottom. Then, instead of stuffing the figs, mound the cheese on top of the cut side of each half. Then, proceed with the rest of the directions.
[4] Honey: After a while, the figs will soak up the honey. In that case, drizzle them with just a tiny bit more, just to give the dish a bit of a sparkle.

See Also

Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese, via Make It Like a Man!

Dates w/Goat Cheese

"Roasted Stuffed Figs," via Make It Like a Man! Figs and Mascarpone

Roasted Stuffed Figs

"Mascarpone Fig Pie," from Butter Sugar Flowers, via Make It Like a Man! Figs and Mascarpone

Mascarpone Fig Pie

Caramel Sauce
Chicken Soup with Polish Dumplings

26 thoughts on “Figs with Mascarpone

  1. Love the flavors you’ve got going on here, Jeff…particularly the honey version. Honey + figs is a classic! But I’ve never thought of adding in the mascarpone. Delicious! Also, I love that this one uses dried figs because fresh figs are about as difficult to find around here as Willy Wonka’s chocolate bar. Great recipe, my friend!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Cajun Black-Eyed Peas

  2. Figs and Mascarpone (and pistachios!) served together on a plate is the sheer perfection of flavors and textures. Open a bottle of wine and very good conversation will soon follow. If I’m invited to the party I admit that conversation might revolve around figs. Because I love figs. GREG

  3. Looking scrumptious and this makes for quite a tray. Awesome flavors and I would gladly pop one or two in my mouth right now and it’s 8:49am here.
    Cheers to a fun and safe NYE Jeff and it’s been great getting to know you better this past year. Cheers friend!
    Kevin | Keviniscooking recently posted…Apple Peanut Butter Tarts

  4. sounds excellent… in Italy we also used to make fresh dates stuffed with mascarpone (by the way: have u ever tried to make mascarpone at home? it is a fun, easy project, provided u have good cream at hand an the result is really delicious)

  5. I never really knew much about figs, except they were used in Fig Newton cookies, and my grandfather used to love them. I thought they were okay and would eat them on occasion, but I never got to indulge in a fresh fig until just a few short years ago. Figs are high in fiber, so they may help one feel fuller for longer and can also be used as a mild natural laxative. Although figs are both nutritional and delicious, they are generally not incredibly popular in mainstream society. I personally don’t see figs readily available in the produce section of most grocers, but I sure wish I did. I would buy fresh figs often!

    Cheers then.
    Gwyneth Clover recently posted…Health and beauty benefits of beets

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