You know how I posted earlier in the week urging us to enjoy a few more summery dishes before summer disappears completely? I think I jinxed us.
There is absolutely no doubt at all now about what season we are in; autumn has well and truly descended. The weather has turned and it’s been really quite chilly, especially in the mornings. We have much further to plummet down the thermometer before this year is over and in all honesty it’s probably not as cold as it seems but, still, it really is quite a change from the warm sunny days of the summer months. Certainly, I didn’t refuse Rob’s offer of a hot water bottle last night (bless him, he knows me so well!).
But, with the chillier air comes all of the good things autumn brings, such as ripe, luscious figs that are in season right now. Figs are very versatile and are great with savoury foods such as cheese and Parma Ham. I’ve got a great recipe in my forthcoming cookbook for a pear, fig and Stitchelton salad that I really love. But figs are also delicious in sweet dishes and today I was inspired to drizzle them with some of the maple syrup I had in my cupboard, bake them and serve them with vanilla ice cream and toasted hazelnuts. Very autumnal and very, very good.
8 figs, stalks removed
Approximately 2 tablespoons maple syrup
good quality vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c.
Cut crosses into the tops of the figs, using a sharp knife, and open them up a little by pressing on their bases. Place them in a small non-stick dish or roasting tray and drizzle over some maple syrup.
Bake the figs for about 15 minutes until they soften. Do keep an eye on them and make sure you take them out of the oven before they bake too much and start to collapse.
While the figs are baking toast the nuts. First, place them into a plastic food bag and gently bash them with a rolling pin to crush them; but don’t overdo it, you don’t want them to turn to dust! Heat a pan over a high heat and add the nuts then cook them for a few minutes until you can just start to smell them, shaking the pan every now and then to turn them, then remove the pan from the heat.
To serve, place 2 figs onto a plate along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle over the nuts and drizzle over a little of the syrup left in the tray the figs were baking in.