Friday, September 12, 2008
Nutella is catnip for humans. I have eaten more jars of the stuff in my life than I care to admit. It was a staple in our house when I was growing up. In my teens, I would stop at the boulangerie du coin (corner bakery) for fresh, hot out of the oven, pain brioche that we would lather with thick layers of artery-clogging hazelnut chocolatey goodness. Ah, the good old days...
When we moved out of our first house, my husband and I were packing boxes at 3 A.M. in anticipation of the moving van's morning arrival. We came across a jar of Nutella while packing the pantry. It looked so innocent in the bare cupboard. We unpacked several boxes to find a spoon, a spatula--anything that could act as delivery device. It was heaven in a jar. Nutella, which I had always loved, had never tasted so good. Frankly, it never did again--though my kids would beg to differ.
I know this little story doesn't explain how my version of Nutella ended up in the figs. You see, once I decided to make the cream I still needed a delivery device for it and figs are so pretty right now-- like little green or purple baskets waiting to be filled with homemade chocolate hazelnut cream...
Figs Stuffed with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream (makes 24)
If your figs are not ripe or sweet enough, simmer them in 1 cup of sugar diluted with 4 cups of water for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the sugar mixture is boiling before you introduce the figs and lower to a simmer. When they are ready, drain well and proceed as per recipe.
24 ripe fresh figs
1/2 cup shelled hazelnuts
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon GF vanilla extrat
3.5 oz of good quality dark chocolate
4oz mascarpone italian cream cheese
whipped cream, for decoration
12 hazelnuts, spilt into 24 halves
Dark chocolate curls, for decoration (optional)
Unsweetened chocolate powder, for decoration
With a pairing knife, cut the top off each fig and cut a X to about 1/3 from the bottom creating an opening for the filling. Gently pry the opening open.
Put the hazelnuts, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream in a mini food processor and pulse until smooth paste forms.
In a small bowl place the dark chocolate and the remainder of the heavy cream and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. Continue microwaving and stirring in 10 second increments until completely melted and smooth.
Add melted chocolate to hazelnut mixture, mascarpone cream cheese and process until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Transfer chocolate to a piping bag or use a freezer bag and clip the corner. Carefully, pipe the chocolate mixture generously into each fig. Crown each one with a dollop of whipped cream, a hazelnut half and a chocolate curl (can be created by carefully passing a vegetable peeler knife on the edge of a cold chocolate bar). Then finish by sprinkling the platter with some unsweetened chocolate powder (I like to use a small handheld mesh strainer, tapping the sides gently to disperse the chocolate). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
And one more fig recipe for you to enjoy...
Oat Fig Bars