Nowadays, I pass by and pick the odd fig, tear in half to expose the soft flesh and devour with sticky fingers. I am also very fond of a chilled fig, but they don't last long in the fridge. A couple of days ago, I found myself inside the tree, with my niece on my shoulders with a breadknife, reaching for those cracked skin. We popped them in the fridge and by happy coincidence a fig recipe landed in my inbox via the Ottolenghi newsletter. I'm so glad I made the little effort to make these figs: we had everything on hand, except the mascarpone but they are delightful with Greek yogurt. I halved the cooking time, as I wanted to keep the form and texture of the fig. They were delicious warm, but equally good cold.
3 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp of lemon juice
3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
4 thyme sprigs
skin of 1 orange, in strips
8 fresh figs, cut lengthways
pinch of salt
Put together in a large mixing bowl the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 tablespoon of water, the orange skin strips and a pinch of salt. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and then stir in the figs. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together in a small bowl the mascarpone, yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth. Keep chilled.
Remove the figs from the bowl (keeping the marinade) and arrange them snugly inside a small baking tray, roughly 20x20cm, the cut side facing up. Sprinkle the figs with the remaining sugar and put under a hot grill, clearing about 15cm from the grill. Grill for 10 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelised and the figs softened.
Meanwhile, pour the marinating liquids into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half and has a consistency of runny honey.
Transfer the hot figs to serving plates and spoon over any leftover syrup from the baking tray, then drizzle over the sauce reduction and sprinkle with picked thyme leaves. Place a spoonful of the yoghurt cream on the side or on the figs and sprinkle over the remaining orange zest. Serve at once.