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Vanilla, Orange & Honey Roast Figs with Yogurt, Crushed Pistachios & Mint

Words, Images & Recipe by Sam Hillman

Figs are the sultry mistresses of the fruit world; the fair weather friends that waltz in during the height of summer and seduce you (again, and again) with their floral perfume and illustrious curves, then promptly disappear.  Ranking highly on my list of short-lived things I tend to get carried away on  (birthdays, raspberry season, glimpses of Jake Gyllenhaall’s naked body in Love and Other Drugs) I tend to hit the ground running from the moment they pop up in the market. A fig aficionado (afigcionado? Eh, eh?) will convince you that figs are in their blushing prime towards the tail end of summer. That’s like telling someone to wait for a brownie to cool before digging in. Screw the haters and befriend your oven. Whether you’ve bought them too early, or left them a bit too late, roasting figs is a sure fire way to command reliability the most frivolous of crops.

Ingredients:

3 large ripe figs, halved

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of good vanilla extract (half a scraped vanilla bean if you’re feeling fancy)

Juice and zest of half an orange

1 good teaspoon of butter

Good, thick plain yogurt, to serve (Full fat, obvs; preferably of the Greek or Turkish persuasion. Labne is also a commendable choice)

A good handful of roast pistachios, finely chopped

A handful of fresh mint, chopped

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set your figs up on it, facing upwards. Pat a little butter on each one.

  1. Combine the honey, vanilla, orange juice, cinnamon and zest in a small bowl and pour over the figs and roast for just under 15 minutes. They should be soft, starting to ooze with stickiness and smelling spectacular.
  2. Divide between plates, serve with dollops of yogurt and top with the crushed pistachios and mint. I whipped up this plate in Germany during a fleeting and serendipitous moment in which fig and blueberry season happened to overlap. Admittedly this was more for the novelty / sheer photogenic factor. It is just as delicious without.

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