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Figs in Pedro Ximénez

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Pedro Ximenez is that syrupy dark sherry that smells of dried fruits, sun, and molasses-tinged caramel. I cannot taste it without thinking figs, raisins, prunes, almonds, and fall and winter in Spain. Alas, it is not always easy to find. However, Shiraz is another wine you can use here. These figs are so intense you really can’t eat more than a few, but they’re great to have on hand to serve with a mound of ricotta cheese, creme fraiche, or coffee ice cream. They will keep refrigerated for weeks.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodpoaching

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity, sharp, winey

Type of Dishcompote, dessert, fruit

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups dried white Calimyrna or Mission figs, or a mixture
  • 1½ cups Pedro Ximenez sherry or Shiraz
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Creme fraiche

Instructions

  1. Snip the stems off the figs. Put them in a small saucepan with the sherry, honey, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the figs are soft and succulent, about 45 minutes. (Even though they’ll feel tender when you press one with a finger before that much time has passed, they do need to cook for the full amount of time.) Turn off the heat and remove the figs to a serving dish with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid behind. Cut some or all of the figs in half to expose their seeds.

  2. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook until bubbles cover the surface and the texture is syrupy when you tilt the pan-about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup over the figs, cover the dish, and let stand until you’re ready to serve them. Place a few figs in individual small bowls for each person and serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche around them. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.

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