This is one of the most delicious flavour combinations and it’s so simple! You can have it for dessert, as a light meal or snack, or as a tea-time treat – take your pick.
Use the ripest and most juicy figs you can find, and you can fill them with any kind of cheese you fancy. I used three different types in this recipe as I wanted to try the different tastes they created: Simonsberg Mature Cheddar, Roulou Feta and Goatsmilk Cheddar from Cluny Farm. The last was a gift from my friends, Kate and Mal, who own Cluny and make the cheese from their free-ranging herd of goats. Not that I’m biased or anything, but the Goatsmilk Cheddar version was definitely my favourite!
For the nuts you can use pecan nuts or walnuts, either raw or toasted (if you want to take the time to do that), as you choose.
You could just stop there, and I sometimes do if I really can’t wait to eat them or just want to keep it simple, but the vanilla-flavoured honey is totally delicious and adds another dimension of sweetness. Add it or not, to your taste.
If you are using it, runny honey works best and if you have a vanilla pod and are prepared to scrape it out, that’s first prize. Otherwise you could add a squeeze of NoMU’s vanilla paste or a dash one of The Vanilla Man’s products. Bear in mind that for the best visual effect and most intense taste, seeds win over essence every time.
- 2 – 3 ripe figs per person, depending on size
- Cheese, one kind or several e.g. cheddar, feta, goatsmilk, brie, camembert, etc
- Pecan nut or walnut halves, raw or toasted
- ½T honey per person
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- Mint leaves to serve
Wash the figs and cut off the stalks. Cut a cross in the top of each one, not all the way through but deep enough to hold your cheese and nuts.
Cut slices of your chosen cheeses to about the width of your figs or a little bigger.
You might need more than one piece per fig if the cheese is quite narrow. Fill one of the cross cuts with cheese and slot the nuts into the other.
Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, if you haven’t already.
Put the honey and the seeds into a small bowl and stir well.
Arrange your filled figs either on individual plates or on a platter to share. Drizzle the honey over and around the figs. Garnish with the mint and serve.
© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2014