Combine the butter, vanilla bean, honey, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and Cognac in a shallow pan. Place figs flesh side down (skin side up) in the mixture. Cover with foil and roast in a 325-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let figs sit in mixture until ready for use.
CAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 individual muffin tins. Use a muffin tray if individual trays are not available. Using a box grater, grate the apples and carrots. Set aside in a medium bowl. Add the raisins. In a large bowl combine the honey, brown sugar, cognac, vegetable oil, and mix until well combined. To this add the eggs and mix again until combined. To this mixture add the carrots, apples and raisins. Stir. At this point all the wet ingredients should be in the same bowl. In a medium bowl, combine all of the remaining dry ingredients, except the pecans. Sift together the dry ingredients so that all the spices evenly mixed together. Add all the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Fold together just until well combined. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. (While the cakes are baking prepare the figs for the garnish.) A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean when removed. Cool slightly and glaze. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and to this add 1/2 cup of honey, stir until it comes together. Using a pastry brush, glaze the tops of the cakes, and lean 2 fig halves across each other and against the side of an individual honey cake. Nap sauce around figs. Place a quenelle of whipped cream on top of cake.
Recipe courtesy of Jackie Reily, Tabla Restaurant
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