Since the dawn of humanity, figs and nakedness have gone together. I know, that sounds like the opening line of the worst seventh-grade history report any kindhearted teacher has ever been forced to read. But don't worry, we're not going down the road you think we are. I'm talking about the nakedness of the figs themselves.
There are all sorts of wonderful ways to cook up figs. Some of the best ones involve pizza dough, or flaky pastry, or cured meats and piquant cheeses. But since fig season is short in many parts of the world—and since figs are positively jewel-like all by themselves—sometimes the best thing to do is to simply eat them out of hand for a snack or for dessert. I mean, just look at them. A naked fig makes a perfect dessert.
That's why this recipe is for the world's second-easiest fig dessert. Let's say you're a fan of figs just the way they are. Even so, sometimes you want something a little warm and jammy after dinner. Or maybe you have some company to impress without a lot of effort. Or maybe you had to buy your figs at the supermarket, and they're not quite as succulent as they could be. That's where broiled figs with vanilla and honey come in.
Fire up the broiler, add a touch of vanilla and honey to your fig halves, and in ten minutes you'll have a sweet little treat on your hands. They'll be practically naked, yet delicately enhanced.
- Active time: 5 minutes
- Total time:10 minutes
- 8 perfectly ripe fresh figs
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1/4 cup honey, for drizzling (you won't use it all)
Preheat the broiler (on low, if you have a choice), with the top rack about six inches below the heat source. Cut each fig in half from stem end to base. You'll be broiling the figs cut-side up, so if your figs aren't symmetrical, try to make the cut such that you'll have as stable a base as possible on the uncut side. Arrange the fig halves cut side up on a baking sheet.
Slice open the vanilla bean with a paring knife and scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Spread a bit of seeds on the cut side of each fig half. You don't need a lot to get a great vanilla flavor.
Drizzle the cut side of each fig half lightly with honey. Again, you don't need too much. Place the pan on the top rack of the oven and broil for a few minutes, until the tops of the figs are bubbly and very lightly browned. (It takes about five minutes in my oven, but broilers vary substantially.) Serve warm by themselves or perched atop a small bowl of vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt.