Roasted Figs with Red Wine

This is a dish inspired by my summers in California, a unique dessert using an elegant fruit. I roast the figs in a red wine glaze and add a dollop of ice cream for a decorative finish. It's a fun dish to make and a beautiful dish for entertaining.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1 bottle (750 ml) red wine, dry

1 cup sugar, granulated

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 star anise pod, whole

1 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional), you can add a handful of fennel fronds if you can't find the pollen

2 pints figs, fresh, preferably Black Mission, Kadota or Candy Stripe

9 lemon verbena leaves, if lemon verbena is not available, fresh thyme or sweet basil are good substitutions

Ice cream or sweetened mascarpone, to serve with the figs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a nonreactive metal saucepan, combine the red wine, sugar, honey, peppercorns, star anise and fennel pollen (or fennel fronds). Bring to a rolling boil, lower to a simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.While the wine liquid is coming to a simmer, prepare the figs for roasting. With a small paring knife, trim and discard the tough stems and make a small incision down the middle of the fig. Stud each fig with a sliver of lemon verbena.Once the wine has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and let it reduce for about 15 to 20 minutes. Place the prepared figs in a tightly packed, single layer in a deep baking dish.
  2. After the liquid has reduced by half, remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard Solids. Cover liquid with plastic wrap and let cool for 20 minutes. Return the liquid to the same saucepan, and put it back on the heat. Bring it to a simmer, and let it reduce for another 15 minutes.Glaze the figs with the reduced liquid and place the pan in the oven. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Remove the figs from the oven and serve warm with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream or mascarpone cheese.
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