Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Grilled figs with ginger and orange liqueur

Like most singletons, I don't bother much with puddings. They hardly seem worth making for one person, although I do make the effort for guests - that's when I'll make a comforting crumble or a boozy trifle, although friends are just as likely to be offered a cheeseboard.

I keep premium ice cream in my freezer, dark chocolate in the larder and yoghurt in the fridge for the rare occasions I want something sweet. And while I love my veg, I'm pretty bad at remembering to eat fruit.

I'm lucky enough to have an Asian supermarket right near my home - it sells a huge array of fresh produce, often at bargain prices. Last week I popped in and discovered they were selling fresh figs at 4 for a pound. Knowing that supermarkets usually sell them for a pound each, I snapped them up. They sat in my fruit bowl for a week, getting riper and riper, while I dithered over whether to bake them wrapped in prosciutto, eat them raw or turn them into a hot dessert. The pudding won out. This is quick, easy and will satisfy the sweetest of teeth.

What you need:
Several ripe figs
Clear honey
A little powdered ginger
Orange liqueur
Crème fraîche

What to do:
Heat the grill. Rinse the figs, trim the stalks off, then cut them in half. Arrange in a heatproof dish. Sprinkle over the powdered ginger, drizzle with the honey and slosh in half a glass of orange liqueur. Pop under the grill for about 10 minutes. Serve with the juices spooned over and a generous dollop of crème fraîche.

Cook's tips:
I like the sharpness of crème fraîche as the accompaniment, as it cuts through the sweetness of the fruit and juices. Plain yoghurt, Greek or regular, will do the same. For a more decadent finish, premium vanilla ice cream can't be beaten - it melts wonderfully over the hot figs. Richest of all would be a splosh of double cream.

There's not much to choose between orange liqueurs - it really boils down to the sweetness and your personal preference. Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec are probably easiest to get hold of although I used Coeur de Comte, a French blend of half orange, half Armagnac. My favourite is the Cypriot Filfar - the most orangey of them all but almost impossible to find in the UK.