Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 2- to 3-quart baking dish. Halve the apples; cut out the core and place flat-side down. Using a sharp knife, make slits in each apple half about 1/4 inch apart; do not cut through to the bottom. Place the apples flat-side down in the prepared baking dish.
Combine 2 tablespoons each butter and brown sugar in a bowl and mash together with a fork; spread the mixture over the tops of the apples. Cover with foil and bake until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar with the flour, lemon zest, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a bowl until clumpy.
Uncover the apples and carefully insert the fig slices into the slits in the apples; sprinkle with the flour mixture. Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender, 20 to 25 more minutes.
Combine the honey with the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and 2 tablespoons water in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until the honey is infused, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and stir in the pomegranate seeds. Transfer the apples to plates and serve with ice cream and the pomegranate syrup.
Photograph by Con Poulos
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