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April 18, 2011 / amyjmcintosh

Grilled figs with ricotta

Grilled figs with honey ricotta

Here’s a test for you. Are figs in season in autumn or spring? If you answered autumn, you get a gold star. If you answered spring, please go to the naughty corner immediately. For me personally, my fruit and vegetable IQ went out the window around the time I forgot my times tables.

Who can blame me, really? All the green grocers have the same line-up year round thanks to the shipping of produce from countries as far and wide as the USA, Israel and Chile. Not to mention the advent of year-round production here in Australia which sees us munching on rockmelon in the depths of Winter and mandarins in Summer.

Eating produce that’s in season will not only improve your fruit and veg IQ, but it will reduce your carbon footprint and knock a few dollars off your grocery bill. You’ll also be doing your taste buds a favour. Why? Because seasonal produce tastes truckloads better. It’s the way Nature intended us to eat.

Speaking of seasonal produce, figs are currently in season here in the Southern Hemisphere (apologies to those of you who live elsewhere). They make an excellent, no-fuss dessert. I whipped up this grilled fig recipe last weekend for a family lunch. It was dead easy and has entered the illustrious hall of Amy’s Favourite Dessert Recipes. It’s super speedy to make too – always a bonus if you ask me.


Adapted from taste.com.au

Ingredients: (serves 4)
8 fresh figs
25g blanched almonds, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g fresh ricotta
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Preheat grill on medium-high.

Trim the fig stems, cut a cross halfway into the top of each fig and gently ease them open. Place the figs into a shallow ovenproof dish. Combine the almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon. Fill each fig cavity with the almond mixture, dividing ingredients evenly.

Place figs under preheated grill (about 8cm from the heat source) and grill for 4-5 minutes or until sugar begins to bubble.

Meanwhile, place the ricotta, honey and vanilla essence in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Place the figs and honey ricotta onto serving plates and serve immediately.

For those of you who don’t eat dairy, the figs taste great without the honey ricotta. You can just drizzle on some honey instead and serve with dessert wine. Yum!

Top tips:
According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, since fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits, they should be purchased only a day or two in advance of when you are planning on eating them. Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should have firm stems and be free of bruises. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.

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