Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52—with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: A perfectly ripe fig doesn't need chocolate and cheese—but it sure wants it.
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If you wrinkle your nose at the idea of eating a fig, I’m willing to bet you have never tasted a properly ripe one. Fig phobics usually don’t know that a ripe fig is very soft— even squishy! Often the most delicious figs are even beginning to shrivel and ooze sweet juice; they may not (under the circumstances) be the prettiest figs in the bowl.
Figs have two seasons but fig lovers know that fall figs are more flavorful than spring figs. So here we are!
Does a really good ripe fig needcheese and chocolate? Nope. But who could resist a sweet, sexy fruit coated with crisp dark chocolate and stuffed with a secret creamy filling? And if these tempt you into enjoying a fig, I will have done my job!
Add stuffed figs to a cheese platter or serve them for dessert. Either way, consider an oloroso sherry or aged tawny port to go with. For stuffing the figs, everyday cream cheese is delicious and obvious—but more interesting and decadent cheeses really do shine here.
20 ripe figs 1/4 cup (60 grams) soft creamy cheese such as ordinary cream cheese, fresh ricotta, mascarpone, or even a triple cream cheese such as Mt. Tam or Brillat-Savarin 5 ounces (140 grams) dark chocolate (any percentage*), chopped 1/3 cup (45 grams) chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
* I usually choose a 62% or 70% chocolate for these.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).