Filled Figs with Mascarpone, Gorgonzola, and Pine Nuts

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Yield: 12 filled fig halves
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Brace yourself for a peak sensual experience.

* Use only the ripest, most flavorful figs. If they're out of season, you could substitute another soft-fleshed ripe fruit, like pears, nectarines, apricots, or cherries.

* Mascarpone is a sublimely smooth, slightly sweet Italian cream cheese. If you can't get mascarpone, substitute a high-quality cream cheese. Also, if you can't get gorgonzola, replace it with a good brand of domestic blue cheese.

* Filled Figs are good at room temperature or cold. They'll keep for several days; carefully seal up the whole plate of figs and refrigerate.

1/3 cup mascarpone
3 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and thoroughly cooled
A dash of salt (optional)
6 medium-sized ripe figs, about 2 inches long (1 1/2-inch diameter)
A little fresh lemon juice
A little honey
Lavender flowers and/or leaves (optional)
  1. Place the mascarpone in a small bowl and stir to soften. (Be patient--it's a bit sticky.) Slowly stir in the crumbled gorgonzola and 3 tablespoons of the toasted, cooled pine nuts, and mix until it is well blended. Add a dash of salt to taste, if desired.
  2. Cut the figs in half lengthwise, so they can retain their lovely shape. Use your finger or the back of a teaspoon to slightly depress the open center of each fig, then sprinkle the figs with a little lemon juice.
  3. Mound a small amount of the cheese mixture in the middle of each open fig, pressing down lightly. Drizzle a little honey over the filling, and place a few extra pine nuts decoratively on top.
  4. Arrange the stuffed figs on your favorite small, fancy plate, and scatter some lavender blossoms and/or leaves among the figs. Cover the plate tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving time.
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