The narrow window of time that bridges late Summer with early Autumn is high time for figs, and I have this season's abundance thanks to a sale at my local market. Figs taste lovely when they're poached in syrup and offered as the close to an evening meal, so perhaps I'll simmer them briefly in Sambuca and finish them with a sweet-salty topping of pine nuts and fresh ricotta. Or, if I've got the time, I'll coat them in a slow-cooked sauce of herbs and spices, then serve with vanilla-imbued mascarpone. Considering the difficult decision I'm faced with, I may prepare both! Decide which recipe suits you and get them both.
Serves 4. 2 cups sweet white wine, such as Sauternes Serves 4.
3/4 cup sugar
2 two-inch strips fresh lemon peel
8 whole black peppercorns
1 two-inch-long cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme
2 thin slices fresh ginger
2 whole star anise
3 green cardamom pods
8 large, whole green or purple figs
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
4 1/2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 vanilla bean
2 cups sweet white wine, such as Sauternes