Black Mission Figs Poached in Red Wine, Orange and Vanilla with Mascarpone and Orange Granite | CUESA

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Black Mission Figs Poached in Red Wine, Orange and Vanilla with Mascarpone and Orange Granite


Daniel Patterson, formerly of Elizabeth Daniel’s.

This recipe is perfect for late season figs, ripe and heavy with concentrated sugars. The red wine deepens the fig flavor, and the orange and vanilla add their sweet, round perfume. The orange granite brightens the flavors of the dish, and the mascarpone adds a creaminess that brings the figs and the granite together. Both the figs and the granite are best if made the day before.

Serves 16


2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup red wine, fruity & full-bodied such as merlot
⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
4 2-inch pieces orange zest, cut into with a vegetable peeler
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
2 pints figs (about 20 figs)
⅛ tsp salt
⅓ cup mascarpone



For the Granite

  1. Heat the sugar and water together until warm and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture cool.

  2. Add the sugar/water mixture to the orange juice to taste. If the oranges are very sweet you may not need all of the sugar/water mixture.
  3. Pour the granite base into a freezer safe container, cover and freeze overnight.

For the Figs

  1. In a non-reactive pot bring the red wine and ⅓ cup of the sugar to a boil, and reduce by about half. Add the vanilla bean, orange zest, water, orange juice, salt and figs to the pot, and heat to a bare simmer. Cook the figs for ten minutes, until they have swelled in size and they feel tender. If you are not sure taste one of the figs for doneness.

  2. Pull the figs from the heat and let the figs cool in their cooking liquid at room temperature. If you are not going to serve the figs right away, refrigerate them until needed, removing them thirty minutes before serving to let them come to room temperature. Keep the figs in the cooking liquid, as the flavors will become more harmonious, and you will need the liquid for the final dish.

To Serve

  1. Combine the mascarpone and the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Scrape the granite with a fork and return it to the freezer. Trim the stems off of the figs. Cut sixteen figs in half lengthwise, and arrange eight figs in each bowl in a circle in the center of soup bowls.

  2. Spoon two tablespoons of the fig cooking liquid over and around the figs. Divide the mascarpone evenly between the bowls, spooning it over the figs. Remove the granite from the freezer, re-scrape it if necessary (this will only happen if your freezer is extremely cold), and mound some granite in the center of the bowls, over the figs and mascarpone.  Serve immediately.



CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »