Marsala Baked Figs with Candied Walnuts and Mascarpone Cheese

By Karen Burns-Booth •


Looking for a low effort but truly delicious way to serve figs? Try Karen’s Marsala Baked Figs with Candied Walnuts and Mascarpone Cheese. It makes for a beautiful autumnal dish your firends and family will love.

 

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The fig season just keeps on going, and each day I come back to the kitchen with more baskets of this seasonal fruit – damp and with a light ruby red glow, they are more often than not devoured on the short walk back to the house, so not all of them make it to the fruit bowl!

Our fig tree is a white fig tree, the fruit is a light green to rosy red on the outside, although as it gets riper the skin turns a lovely deep purple; on biting into the fruit, the inside is a rich red wine colour with a sweet flavour. And, it’s not just me and my family that love figs so much, my chickens do too; and as they have a free-range run under one half of the tree, we often see one of them jumping up to try to pick some of the figs that are hanging provocatively on the lower branches!

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When the fig season is in full swing, between the middle of September and the end of October, I am constantly trying to come up with new ideas about how to serve them. Salads are always popular and we all love a salad with fresh figs, cheese and nuts, such as my recipe for Fresh fig salad with blue cheese, smoked ham and walnuts. As well as this rustic and filling salad, I often like to serve our fresh figs as part of a special dinner party menu, as an elegant starter, and my recipe for Figs stuffed with Blue Cheese and Lavender Honey Drizzle is always a big hit. I also love to bake with figs, and I often make a fig and walnut tart with honey, something similar to this Honey, Fig and Walnut Tart. Figs are just brilliant when bakes in pastry.

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But today’s recipe is a delicious low-preparation dish for Marsala Baked Figs with Candied Walnuts and Mascarpone Cheese. The figs are baked in the oven for about 15 minutes in a Demerara sugar and Marsala wine jus, and whilst the figs are baking, you can prepare the candied walnuts, which is a simple as heating up some butter and sugar in a pan, with the walnuts being added towards the end so they are coated in the caramel-like sauce, which hardens on cooling. You serve the figs whilst they are still warm with a dollop of Mascarpone cheese with the candied walnuts scattered on top for a beautiful autumnal dessert, that all of the family will love.

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This rustic style recipe is simple enough to make during the week for “afters”, but it’s also elegant and sophisticated enough to be served at the end of a grand autumnal dinner party, and that’s what makes it such a versatile recipe. Although I made it with white figs, you can use any figs for this, you will just have to adjust the amounts depending on the size – my figs are quite diminutive, so I tend to use more! Whatever the size or type of figs you use, I am sure this recipe will become a seasonal favourite, as it is with us. A quick final note, you can also serve the fugs cold, swirled through cream with the candied walnuts, sort of like an Eton Mess with no meringues!

Marsala Baked Figs with Candied Walnuts and Mascarpone Cheese

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

12 to 16 fresh figs, wiped and cut in half

3 tablespoons Demerara sugar

6 tablespoons Marsala wine

A little butter

100g walnut halves

25g unsalted butter

25g caster sugar or Demerara sugar

Mascarpone cheese, to serve

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/250F/Gas 5. Lightly grease a baking dish with the butter.

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2. Place the figs into the buttered baking dish and pour over the Marsala wine and then sprinkle the sugar all over the top of the figs.

3. Bake uncovered for between 15 and 20 minutes, or until the figs are soft but still retain their shape.

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4. Meanwhile, make the candied walnuts; place the butter and sugar into a non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is a pale golden brown. Add the walnuts and mix them around in the pan so they all get an even coating of the butter mixture. Take of the heat and allow to cool slightly. (They will harden on cooling)

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5. To serve, divide the figs and the juice between 4 serving bowls, add some mascarpone cheese and then scatter the candied walnuts over the top.

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For more delicious fig recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.

Comments

Lavender and Lovage
Thanks too to The Spicy Pear! Karen
9 October 2013
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Lavender and Lovage
Thanks so much Peaches Please! Karen
9 October 2013
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Lavender and Lovage
Thanks Jac!
9 October 2013
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tinnedtoms
I love figs and this sounds wonderful Karen. As ever beautiful photos x
8 October 2013
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Peaches Please
The photographs are just lovely. I love how the gold in the bowls works with all the deep beautiful colors of the dish. It looks super yummy as well!
8 October 2013
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The Spicy Pear
I made this last night for friends and it was the perfect way to end our dinner party. It is very easy to make, has the wow factor and truly is delicious. Unfortunately I didn't have any marsala so substituted for Sauternes but it still tasted good. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
8 October 2013
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Karen Burns-Booth

Karen Burns-Booth is creative freelance food writer & blogger. Her love of seasonal food & recipes stems from her childhood observing her grandmother and mother’s cookery skills. A regular contributor in Country Kitchen magazine, she currently writes for numerous other publications, food, travel and tourism websites and has several recipes in print in compilation cookbooks. She is currently working on a Historical British Cookbook.

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