Figs are finally in season. This sensual fruit, rumored to have been the real temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden, has flaunted its bright colors and stealthily garnered all the glory. Its wonders have been captured in poems, songs and paintings.
The aromatic spices and herbs used on the figs in this luxurious dish combined with nuts and honey is reflected in the food of Turkey, the Balkans, parts of Russia and the Middle East. It seems only fitting because of my scattered roots in this part of the world and my deep interest in the cuisine that shaped my childhood, that I should eventually land on a fig dessert.
Cardamom is the spice that punctuates these sweet treats. It’s such a unique spice. Many recipes I’ve seen have called for cloves, nutmeg and other earthy spices. All of these work, but they will feel like constructing a Roman temple with limestone pillars instead of creamy white marble. Both will withstand time, but one adds so much more depth and beauty.
The toasted almonds add texture, while the honey adds depth. The sour notes of the yogurt and the freshness of the thyme temper the sweet fruit. All of the flavors and ingredients seem to tap into a piece of history or a distinctive place in the world, weaving together a dessert fundamental to the diets of rich and poor alike as far back as time goes.
- 8-10 ripe figs, washed and cut in half
- 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Cardamom Honeyed Yogurt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup almond, slivered or chopped
Preheat oven to approx 350F. Place the figs cut side up on a baking tray, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with the ground cardamom and thyme and bake for twenty minutes. The figs will have softened slightly but will become more juice and absorb the honey.
Mix the yogurt with the honey and cinnamon.
Place a non-stick pan over medium heat and once pan is hot, add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the chopped or slivered almonds and let cook until light brown. Stir often and coat evenly in the oil. Remember the oil gets extremely hot so you may want to reduce or turn the heat off completely before the almonds darken.
Arrange the figs on a platter, spoon the yogurt over and scatter the nuts over the fruit. If desired sprinkle a little more cinnamon and thyme over the entire platter.
This recipe was adapted from Tanya Zouev who created one of the most beautiful recipe websites I have seen, The Cook Who Knew Nothing. She’s funny, informative and a professional photographer.