Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Violet! You're turning violet, Violet! (pt. 3)

Roasted Violet Figs with Sweet Mascarpone Creme, Caramel Waffle and Balsamic Fig Honey

Lately I just can't seem to help myself from nabbing a tub of mascarpone when I'm grocery shopping and see some on the shelf. I love eating it with fresh, roasted or macerated fruit. The mouthfeel of the butterfat coating my tongue puts me in a moral conundrum over whether food making you feel this good is right.

And I'm not sure if they can be found on American grocery store shelves, but I've recently discovered these awesome Dutch caramel waffles, that are essentially cookies. They are thin disks and look much like an ordinary biscuit.. Until you bite into one and discover that in addition to being crispy at the moment of tooth-impact, they are chewy – with a thin caramel center. I find the large versions of these to be perfect bases for this dessert, as they can be cut with a fork and knife.

The preparation for this dessert seems a little involved but I promise it is truly simplistic.

3 Figs – Tops and bottoms trimmed, sliced in ½
4 T. Honey – divide in ½
8 oz. Tub Mascapone
1 T. White Sugar
½ t. Vanilla Extract
2-4 T. Cream
2 t. Fig Juice or Fig Balsamic Vinegar
6 Large Dutch Caramel Waffles

* Set oven to broil and place figs, face side up, on a foil covered cookie sheet. Drizzle fig halves with 2T. Of the honey. Broil figs for approx 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

* Combine remaining 2T. Of honey with the fig balsamic vinegar and set aside for the last step.

* With an electric mixer, combine mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and enough cream to get the mixture to a “dolloping” consistency.

* Place one waffle on a dessert plate, put a dollop of mascarpone cream in the center and arrange a fig half over top. Drizzle with some of the fig honey. Rich but yummy! Perfect served with coffee (Serves 6)

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Best known for it's use in the popular dessert Tiramisu, mascarpone is an Italian triple cream “soft cheese” with a butterfat content of between 60-75%. Indeed, mascarpone isn't really a cheese so much as it is the product of combining the cream skimmed off milk and tartaric acid. It is gently cooked and then left to thicken and mature, although it does have a very short shelf life.
It's extremely creamy and is usually spreadable but sometimes has the consistency of butter (no wonder with that high amount of butterfat). It is very similar to commonly known creamcheese. It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, even in drinks like smoothies and coffees (Casper & Gambinis here has a mascarpone latte *Homer Drool*). It can be used to finish soups and risottos and is awesome in cheesecakes.

It can be made at home but is a specialty in the Lombardy region of Italy.