Caramelized Figs with Balsamic Syrup and Crème Fraiche

Although London basically had no summer this summer, I am reaping the fruits, literally, of summer in other places. The markets in Paris are full of the most glorious black figs. I sampled one at the Marché d’Aligre in the 12th Arrondissement and had to buy a kilo of them. (They only cost about three euros, by the way.) My dad, who’s got slightly antiquated notions about food, did not believe me when I told him that figs and balsamic are one of the most glorious pairings known to man. I set out to prove him wrong, and succeeded. The addition of crème fraiche made this easy dessert HEAVENLY.

Ingredients:

Six ripe black figs, sliced in half

1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar, preferably aged

2 tablespoons demerara sugar

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup crème fraiche

Method:

In a saucepan, reduce the balsamic syrup over medium heat until it achieves the consistency and color of molasses and clings to the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Using a heavy-bottomed frying pan large enough to fit your figs in a single layer, melt the sugar over medium-high heat until it is fully dissolved and has started to turn golden. Stir in the butter until incorporated. Place the figs, cut side down, in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, spooning the juices repeatedly over the backs of the figs until they are glazed and have turned dark, about ten minutes.

To serve, spoon about a teaspoonful of the balsamic syrup onto a dessert plate (its flavour is quite intense) and streak along plate. Place three fig halves on plate and spoon on a dollop of crème fraiche.

Serves 4.

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