Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dessert to dream on: brandied figs in tea syrup

I got this idea from a cookbook, but noodled with it a bit and will probably noodle with it more. It's not that it's not perfect as/is, it's that I can't leave well enough alone. You know how it is.

Brandied Figs in Earl Grey Tea Syrup

3 cups of Earl Grey tea (normal strength or strong, but not bitter)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds dried figs (I used VERY dry calimyrnas, because that's what I had)
1 cup sugar
peel of one or two tangerines, in large, easy-to-remove pieces
3 or 4 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 vanilla bean
1/2 cup decent brandy

Add cinnamon, vanilla, and fruit peel to tea. Simmer figs in spiced tea until they are swollen, plump, and tender. Remove figs with slotted spoon to sterilized jars or your serving bowls (figs will be dark and dramatic -- color-coordinate accordingly). Add sugar to spiced tea and simmer mixture for a few minutes or until it behaves like syrup should, thickening slightly and coating your spoon. Remove from heat and add brandy. Pour brandied syrup over figs.

Serve over something not too sweet, with something crunchy alongside, four or five figs and a healthy belt of syrup to a person. I recommend Greek yogurt and waffle cookies or other dainty, wafer-like crispy cookies. But I am considering saturating a pancake or two with the syrup. Truly, this is swoony good and oh-so-sophisticated and, if you have it cold in the fridge, you can put it together last-moment without breaking a sweat and then socialize while you're still as glamorous and seductive and unruffled as Nigella.

One of these days, soon, I'll bundle homemade white cheese or ricotta into crepes and top it with this stuff. Magic.

I think this would be totally tits made with prunes instead of figs, but the deep-dark flavors are necessary with the tea and brandy, so I haven't thought further than figs and prunes. If you want something lemony light, for God's sake go make Emily's wonderful pudding cake. I've made it a half dozen times or more and every time, people just about faint.

(Hail Eris.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds super good. I wonder how it would be with dates? Might try it this weekend, I'm fussing over a brunch menu that just doesn't want to come together. I'm glad you love the pudding cake! It's super good, if I do say so myself :)