Fresh Fig Custard with Sweet Basil, Blue Cheese and Honey

By • July 6, 2010 • 10 Comments



Author Notes: I love fresh figs and whenever I eat them, I feel decadent. The first time I tasted a fresh fig I was in my twenties, going to Graduate school in Boston, and it was a revelation. Having grown up in Hawai`i, tropical exotics such as guava, lychee, mango and papaya were a part of my palate from childhood but fresh figs! The pale pink flesh of a Brown Turkey, with just a perfumy wisp of sweetness – I could not believe what I had been missing. Fresh figs became my struggling student market splurge. Years later, I tasted a fresh fig stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in basil. Another revelation as the subtle sweet fig contrasted with the clove-citrus notes of fresh sweet basil and the creamy tang of goat cheese. Using Mark Bittman’s custard recipe as a guide, this recipe developed out of my generally non-pastry baking nature to one up the fig and sweet basil combination by adding custard, blue cheese and honey (another taste revelation I experienced in my twenties, but that's another story). The result is a contrast of flavors and textures worth trying: Creamy, sweet, fig flecked custard, contrasted with citrus notes from the basil, a burst of salt from the blue cheese and a touch of floral from the honey. Note: I used six small ramekins to make individual custards, however one large one would also work. Adjust cooking time if you make one large one – it will take a bit longer.gingerroot

Serves six

  • 4 fresh figs, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup 1 % milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 4-5 sweet basil leaves (such as Genovese)
  • Mild soft Blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola Dolce Blue, for crumbling on top of custards
  • Local honey for drizzling over cheese and custards (I used a local lavender honey)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Heat a small sauté pan over low heat. Cut three of the figs into wedges. Add fig pieces to pan and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cane sugar over fruit. Add water. Gently moving fig pieces around with a spatula, cook until wedges get soft but still hold their shape, about five minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  3. Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
  4. Combine milk and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid steams, about three to four minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and egg yolk. Gradually add a pinch of salt and remaining ¼ cup of cane sugar. Beat until mixture is pale and thick.
  6. Whisking constantly, slowly add the egg mixture to the heated liquid. To ensure an extra silky texture, strain custard through a sieve into a large glass container with a spout (like a quart size pyrex measuring cup).
  7. Place ramekins in a baking pan. Divide reserved cooked fig wedges among ramekins, about 4-5 wedges per dish. Pour custard over fruit, filling each ramekin. Pop any air bubbles with the tip of a sharp knife.
  8. Carefully pour boiled water from kettle into baking pan, so that water comes up about an inch around custard dishes. Carefully transfer baking pan to oven. Check custards in about 30 minutes; custards are done when almost set, center will still jiggle a bit. Remove from oven and allow custards to cool on a rack. Once cooled, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator. Chill at least four hours and up to a day.
  9. When ready to serve custards, cut remaining fig into wedges. Roll and cut basil into chiffonade. Assemble custards by removing plastic wrap, placing one to two wedges of fresh fig onto each, top with ribbons of sweet basil, crumbles of blue cheese and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

Tags: blue cheese, custard, dinner party, rich, sweet and savory

Comments (10) Questions (0)

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about 4 years ago seemeredithcook

I love blue cheese and honey together - not mention figs. Wonderfully decadent recipe! Next time I'm wanting to impress dinner guests, I will be making this.

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about 4 years ago gingerroot

So glad you will try this. The basil adds a wonderful fresh citrus component to the blue cheese/honey/fig pairing.

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about 4 years ago dymnyno

Niiiice recipe!!!! When my fig crop comes in, I will be making this.

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about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks! It is easy to put together but the combination of textures and flavors make it decadent.

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about 4 years ago firenze

The figs on my fig tree are almost ripe -- this will be the perfect way to enjoy them!

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about 4 years ago gingerroot

Let me know what you think when you try it!

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about 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Beautiful - this would be a great starter or dessert ... or ... both

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about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks aargersi! Using it as a starter is a great idea...especially if you scaled it down to just a spoonful (like a Chinese soup spoon)

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about 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks drbabs! Warning: They are a teeny bit addictive. I had two of them last night. : )

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yum.