Make Ahead

Drunken Honeyed Figs with Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream

March 16, 2010
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 tartlets
Author Notes

When I think about desserts, some that come to mind celebrate the luscious simplicity of fruit, ripe from the tree. And for a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates the bounty of autumn, this one is a lighter dessert that can balance the heavier meal quite well. Best of all, in the chaos of coordinating a lot of dishes, this dessert is super easy to make and the figs can be made ahead, leaving you with only the Mascarpone Whipped Cream to quickly make. I used dried figs as they hold their shape so much better. You could use fresh figs but be sure to adjust your cooking time. The dried figs are macerated in brandy overnight to soften them and infuse them with a contrasing flavor. They are then simmered on the stovetop in a mixture of honey, anise seed and orange juice until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze. Paired with the mascarpone whipped cream, you get a combination that feels luxurious and decadent without the heaviness. You can serve this by spooning or piping the whipped cream beside some arranged honeyed figs or you can arrange the figs in small tartlet shell and pipe the whipped cream in the middle. I've got pictures here of both. Enjoy!! —TheWimpyVegetarian

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: ChezSuzanne, a dedicated SF-based FOOD52er since the early days, is a seemingly boundless resource for seasonally inspired and often contest-winning recipes.
WHAT: Dried figs bathe in honey and brandy, to emerge plumped and bursting. A silky bed of lemony cream whipped with mascarpone awaits them.
HOW: The only trick is remembering to soak the figs overnight in honey, water and brandy. The rest is pretty breezy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A fairly straightforward list of ingredients and an uncomplicated preparation belie the beautifully exotic nature of the final dish. If you're looking to seduce, look no further. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Drunken Honeyed Fig Tart
  • 16 dried figs (I used white figs)
  • 1 cup brandy, or enough to cover and macerate the figs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 ounces plus 2 Tablespoons honey (I used orange blossom honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • 4 strips of orange peel (removed with a potato peeler)
  • 7 ounces orange juice
  • juice from 1/4 of small Meyer lemon
  • pinch salt
  • 8 bought or made tart shells (optional)
  • Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • lemon zest from 1 large lemon
  • 2 squeezes of lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  1. Macerate the dried figs in the brandy, water and 2 Tablespoons of honey overnight. There should be enough liquid to cover the figs.
  2. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine the rest of the honey with the orange juice, peel, anise seed, lemon juice and salt. Slice the figs in half and add to the honey mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to a glaze-like mixture. The figs should be very soft, but still holding their shape. Turn the figs carefully with a large metal spoon during the simmering process to completely cover them with the honey-orange juice. Let cool slightly in the pot.
  3. Either arrange several figs on a plate, for example in the shape of a flower or place them in a tart shell, and drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup over them. (I show pictures of both.) Either spoon or pipe the mascarpone whipped cream beside them on the plate or in the tart. Drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup on top.
  4. To make the mascarpone whipped cream, whip the whipping cream to a medium peak using a hand or standing mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients for the Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream and continue to beat for about 20 - 30 seconds until it is the consistency of whipped cream and can be piped.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jill Lazzaro Gueller
    Jill Lazzaro Gueller
  • TasteFood
  • ChefJune
  • wssmom
  • BlueKaleRoad

46 Reviews

Pat December 29, 2021
Haven’t tried yet, but I have a question. What is marcarpone cheese?
I have two questions regarding this recipe.....1-could I use fresh figs? I've got two Turkey Brown fig trees and end up with most of them rotting on the ground because I can't find enough recipes that call for fresh figs. 2-Could I substitute a different alcoholic beverage? I'm not a brandy lover.
Jill L. May 4, 2015
I have a bag of frozen figs from Trader Joes...any idea if they'l hold up enough for this recipe, or if I'll end up with the mushiness that is thawed frozen fruit...? :\
Phyllis C. February 10, 2015
What do you do with the brandy that was used to macerate the figs. Your recipe does not say if I should discard the liquid or I should use it. Please explain as I an anxious to try this recipe.
TheWimpyVegetarian March 4, 2015
I discard the excess brandy! Sorry for the delay in responding - I just found the email notifying me of your comment in my junk mail! Really sorry!!
allison March 31, 2014
How far in advance Can I prepare the fig compote as well as the cream mixture?
Gato M. June 18, 2012
Made the mascarpone sauce last night, but the mascarpone-heavy cream-lemon combination didn't incorporate properly. First I beat the mascarpone, lemon zest and juice in a separate bowl. Then I beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until it started to form soft peaks. Finally I beat the two together. The final consistency was that of a thick cream sauce.....nothing as fluffy and formed as in the photo. I was disappointed since I was hoping this would be my go-to topping for summer fruit dishes. Oh, I just realized I forgot the pinch of salt? Would that mess it up? Anyone want to speculate on what went wrong?
TheWimpyVegetarian June 20, 2012
Hmmm. I'm not sure what happened. This is my go-to topping for spring and summer. I always have the cream whipped separately and whip it until it's medium peak. I have to close to firm, but not completely as I'm always concerned about overwhipping it once I add everything else. Once the cream is whipped, I add everything to it. I do add the mascarpone typically one tablespoon at a time; maybe that's the problem? Or perhaps it matters whether you add the whipped cream to the mascarpone or the other way around - I'm honestly not sure. My best recommendation is to whip the cream further next time and then add the mascarpone one tablespoon at a time, and then the rest of the ingredients. The salt shouldn't have made a big difference. I'm really sorry it didn't work for you!
amanda.darby March 7, 2012
I made this and it got all clumpy from adding the cold un-whipped mascarpone into the cream. I would recommend whipping the mascarpone, removing it from the bowl and set it to the side. Then whip the cream then add the mascarpone. I had to sift mine through sleeve and it lost it's fluffiness. Otherwise, great recipe.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 20, 2012
I'm so sorry I didn't see your comment until now! I've not had it turn clumpy at all, but haven't whipped the mascarpone at all. I wonder if it depends on the brand and consistency of the mascarpone? I do always whip the cream first and then add the mascarpone, but have never had to sift it at all, and make it a couple times a month at least. I get my mascarpone in a little tub, and I add it one tablespoon at a time typically. I never thought about whether that makes a difference, but am going to adjust the instructions in case it does! Thanks so much for letting me know!
tracyl50 February 13, 2012
That sounds amazing. I think this would be a nice romantic shared dessert for Valentines or another special occasion. I don't have access to Meyer lemons, but do have some Meyer lemoncello.
TheWimpyVegetarian February 13, 2012
Thanks so much! I'm sure this would be fine with regular lemons too. I hope you have a chance to make it :-)
TasteFood February 9, 2012
Congratulations Susan! I remember this recipe - it is delicious!
ChefJune February 9, 2012
Yum! I can see this also made in the summer with fresh figs. Texture will be different, and I would do a shorter marinade, but..... this is a WOW! Another Valentine-worthy dessert.
wssmom February 8, 2012
So well-deserved!! Congrats!!
BlueKaleRoad February 8, 2012
Congratulations! Well deserved - what an amazing dessert! I can think of a number of sweets I'd like to top with the lemon mascarpone cream, too.
lapadia February 8, 2012
Congrats and safe travels :) !!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 8, 2012
Thank you so much FOOD52 for this incredible honor!! I'm so thrilled! Traveling right now in and out of cell coverage, but I'm really excited!
drbabs February 8, 2012
HUGE congratulations! Well deserved!
Bevi February 8, 2012
Big Congrats!
hardlikearmour February 8, 2012
Yum! This sounds delighful! Big congrats!
aargersi February 8, 2012
EmilyC February 8, 2012
Congrats on your back-to-back wins -- you're a rock star! This looks amazing!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 8, 2012
Thanks so much Emily! I'm really just floored. Really excited, and so surprised! Wow.
mrslarkin February 8, 2012
Congrats CS! This sounds amazing.
Lizthechef February 8, 2012
Two in a row!! Congratulations big time!!
Oui, C. November 11, 2010
Just about anything "drunken" works for me, but this dish looks particularly delicious! - S
TheWimpyVegetarian November 12, 2010
Thanks Steve! I must admit that my husband and I just inhaled this dessert! Would love to hear what you think if you try it.