Baked Figs with Faisselle

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Servings: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

During our stays in the Provence, we loved to eat figs, especially the Madeleine de Deux Saisons variety from the historic town of Caromb. They have an annual fig festival there. Tasting the firm, ripe figs for the first time makes you wonder why you ever bought figs in your local supermarket. Ripe figs are naturally sweet and do not need a lot of embellishments. For a dessert dish like this one, you can bake the figs and add a bit of honey, cinnamon and serve it with a Faiselle or some Greek strained yogurt.  When buying figs in season pick the ones which are firm, especially if you are planning to bake them.

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 figs
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter + extra for greasing the baking dish
  • 4 Tbsp lavender honey or to taste
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Preparation:

Butter an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the figs. Preheat the oven 350°F/180°C. Cut figs lengthwise in the middle and place them cut side up in the baking dish. Heat butter, honey, and cinnamon in a small pan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Drizzle it over the figs. Cover the dish with an aluminum foil and bake for about 10 minutes depending on the ripeness of the figs. You do not want them to fall apart.

Serve with Faiselle or Greek yogurt.

A word about Faiselle:

Eating out in France you will sooner or later find Faisselle on the menu, normally as an alternative to the cheese plate as dessert. On grand 4 courses and up menus you can also encounter it as a small dish between the mains.

Faisselle is an unsalted, soft and very fresh curd cheese either made from cow, goat or sheep milk. Initially, the curd is nearly liquid. It is placed in small plastic cups with holes on the side. In the old times, they used earthenware cups to drain the liquid. These cups are placed in a group of 12 or more in a larger tray like container. Over a couple of days, the excess whey flows through the tiny holes into the outer container. Sitting in this “whey bath” keeps the Faisselles moist and fresh.

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Especially authentic is the Faisselle de Chèvre, soft curds which barely hold together with a fresh, subtle flavor reminding you a bit of hay and only with the slightest hint of sourness. They are light and lofty, a pleasure to eat.

A “rustic” alternative in the US is Greek strained yogurt, like the one from Chobani or Fage. Contrary to Faiselle Greek strained yogurt is not as fresh and light as Faisselle and less subtle in taste. It does not hold the shape like Faiselle, so you might as well spoon it on a plate.

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