I have to admit that my experience with figs prior to a few years ago was on a cheese plate or in a Fig Newton. Not as a stand alone dessert star. My grandmother had a fig tree growing up, but she typically preserved them to make jam. My landlord Maria told me about figs growing up in Italy, and how they were a common ingredient in a lot of Italian recipes. Ah, to live in a place where blood oranges, figs and pasta grow on trees…. I figured there had to be something redeeming about figs, considering all these people eat them.

This recipe combines fresh figs, pistachio brittle (If you remember, we made this with our Spanish cheeses) and Mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone cheese is a fresh triple-creme (i.e. super rich) cheese, from the Lombardy Region in Italy. It’s the main ingredient in Tiramisu, so you know it’s good! It’s reminiscent of a sweet sour cream. I had a divine dessert crostini at Fig and Olive in NYC, with almond shortbread vanilla Mascarpone and amaretto-soaked cherries, with toasted pistachios on top. Ahhhh-mazing!

Because Christina was on one of her low fat health kicks, (as I am sure I should be…), we used 0% Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is abundant in Astoria, which is Greek-town, and is super thick and rich, similar to Mascarpone. Just note that Greek yogurt tends to be pretty sour, so you’ll need to add extra honey to compensate.

CREAM (Adapted from Bon Appetit):

½ cup mascarpone cream

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp orange blossom honey

Zest from 1 small orange

If using Greek yogurt, add a bit of heavy cream to make it slightly more liquid. Add in honey to taste. Grate the peel of one orange into the mixture.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Clean and slice the figs in half. Note the skin of figs are really soft, so use veggie wash instead of scrubbing the peel. Slice a few on a plate and add the yogurt/mascarpone topping and pistachio brittle. Serve immediately. The texture of the figs, the topping and the crunch make this a perfect dessert.

~ Dana

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