Lavender and Cheese-Stuffed Figs

An Adaptation of "Filled Figs," from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12 filled fig halves
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 nectarines or apricots„ or even cherries. In a pinch, you could also use dried figs. Better to use a good dried fig than a mediocre or tasteless fresh one!
  • 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.
  • Lavender & Cheese-Stuffed 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, at room temperature
3 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
1 tablespoon stripped lavender leaves, finely minced
1 tablespoon stripped lavender blossoms
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
  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, 1 tablespoon of the lavender, 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 the lavender blossoms over and among the figs. Serve right away, or cover the plate tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving time.
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