Each year February spells the beginning of an eagerly anticipated fig season. I literally can never get my fill of these lusciously addictive round bottomed beauties. Sweet, savoury or plucked directly from the tree, I try to enjoy them any way I can from now until Easter.
I love the way the changing seasons are often marked with particular food rituals. Some habits die hard and each year we celebrate our wedding anniversary with a visit to one of our favourite restaurants, Buon Ricordo. On the menu? Baked Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto With a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. A gorgeous dish I have been known, on occasion, to order as a main.
Today I’m introducing my latest addiction. My version of the Italian classic Baci Di Fichi. Fresh figs dipped in chocolate sprinkled with roasted hazelnut crumbs or good quality sea salt flakes. Biting into them is a dream. There’s a sharp crack of dark chocolate followed by a soft, sweet mouthfuls of succulent fig. These would be a perfect addition to a dessert platter or cheeseboard this looming Valentine’s Day. Elegantly delicious yet unbelievably easy to prepare. I dare you to stop at just one.
Chocolate Dipped Figs With Roasted Hazelnut Crumbs Or Sea Salt Flakes
a dozen small fresh ripe figs
100g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup (75g) shelled whole hazelnuts
sea salt flakes
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Spread whole hazelnuts, in a single layer, evenly over a baking tray. Roast in oven for 10 minutes or until the hazelnuts are aromatic and lightly toasted and the skins are just starting to crack. Transfer nuts to a clean tea towel and gently rub together to remove their bitter skins. Coarsely chop skinned hazelnuts using a large kitchen knife or alternatively pulse for a few seconds in a food processor.
SPRINKLE nuts over a large plate. Set aside.
MELT dark chocolate and olive oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Remove from heat, add honey. Stir until mixture is smooth and well combined.
DIP each fig half way into the dark chocolate mixture and then gently roll in chopped nuts or sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
PLACE on a baking paper lined tray and chill for 15 minutes to set before serving.