Figs can be difficult to source, but if you're lucky enough to find them, please do yourself a favor and snatch them up. A fig is ripe when it's soft and the thin skin rests close to the flesh, which smells rather fragrant. You will want to use your ripe figs right away! If the figs are firm, this means they are unripe and will be somewhat dry with an undeveloped center. You will definitely want to eat your figs when they are ripe. You can coax your figs to ripeness by leaving them in a single layer on the kitchen counter for a day or two.
Once your figs are ripe, simply cut the figs in half and brush them with olive oil and honey. Grill them for a few minutes and drizzle them with a cloudlike sweet cream made of Mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and honey. Garnish the figs with the cream and some chopped hazelnuts, or crumbled amaretti cookies, and a few sprigs of thyme for a spectacular sweet and juicy bite-sized delight! This is a perfectly healthy dessert and a great way to celebrate the late summer fig season! Make them and enjoy them while you can!
Eric Ripert's Grilled Figs with
Adapted from Avec Eric
by Eric Ripert
4 thin wooden or bamboo skewers*
8 large ripe fresh figs, halved lengthwise*
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons honey, divided
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup skinned roasted hazelnuts, lightly crushed*
thyme, for garnish
Note: I couldn't be bothered to soak skewers so I didn't use them. I simply placed the figs face down directly on the grill. I felt this was much easier! I couldn't find large figs so I used small bite-sized figs. I think this worked out better, as well. They were the perfect size. I don't much care for hazelnuts so I crushed some amaretti cookies and sprinkled them on top. If you couldn't find amaretti cookies or hazelnuts then chopped almonds would be a nice substitution.
Preheat the grill over high heat. Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from scorching. Slide 4 fig halves onto each skewer, alternating each (top next to bottom) so that the fruit is fairly tight and the cut sides of the figs are facing one direction. Brush or drizzle the figs with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the honey.
Place the skewers on the grill, cut sides down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, gently whisk together the mascarpone, heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of the honey.
Carefully remove the skewers from the grill and arrange them on a platter or 4 individual serving plates. Spoon some of the mascarpone mixture and the remaining 2 tablespoons honey over and around the figs, and finish with the crushed hazelnuts and thyme leaves. Serve warm.