The humble fig is something that’s very close to my heart. Not only does it conjure memories of picking them fresh from a tree in our family back yard back in the 70’s, but more recently on our last trip to France where we did a boat trip along Canal du Midi. Massive wild fig trees laden with fruit that’s there for anyone to pillage. I was in heaven in the south of France.
Croatians generally like their figs, being very much a Mediterranean thing, so I’ve cooked a fig fritter of sorts with my own decadent addition of chestnut mascarpone and white balsamic syrup.
Figs, chestnuts and creamy cheese. Why not?
The chestnut mascarpone I’ve created could be used over a breakfast fruit bruschetta, a cake topping or filling or even teamed up with thinly shaved salty prosciutto and bread. I must add, your arteries won’t like it, even if your tastebuds do. Mascarpone may not be the healthiest of foods but in this instance it tastes mighty fine.
The use of beer in the batter doesn’t make anything heavy. It’s actually quite the opposite. Any beer will do, just not the dark stuff. Finally, I knocked-up a white balsamic syrup that ties the fried creaminess of the fig with the heavy decadence of the chestnut mascarpone. In my eyes, it all works. This is one special dessert.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make an incision in the side of each chestnut, arrange on a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes. When the chestnuts are done remove them from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the skins while still hot. Process in a food processor until fine.
Combine the mascarpone, caster sugar, vanilla and butter milk, add the ground chestnuts and set aside.
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and dissolve over low heat. Bring to the boil, reduce to a very gentle simmer and allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until syrupy. Set aside.
If the figs are large cut them into halves, lengthways, and dredge in a quarter cup of flour. If they are small, leave them whole. Once coated in flour, set aside.
Beat the egg whites with the sugar until thick but not meringue-like. Add the yolks, the ½ cup of flour, poppy seeds and the beer. Gently beat without forming too many air bubbles.
Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan, dip the flour-drenched figs into the batter and fry in the hot oil until golden. When done, remove and lay over paper towels.
To serve, drop a generous spoon of the mascarpone into the serving dish. Toss the fried figs in the sugar mix and lay them over the mascarpone. Finally drizzle with the syrup. Eat while warm.