This time of year, I cannot walk past a carton of figs without picking one up and bringing it home with me. I am still trying to figure out how to grow them in Minnesota. Yes, I know... that probably won't happen. But the New York Times article, Italy to Brooklyn, Fig by Fig, gives me faint hope.
• 1/2 cup ruby or tawny port
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• One 3-by-1-inch strip of orange zest
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the baking dish
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• Melted butter, for the dish
• 3/4 pounds fresh Black Mission figs, halved lengthwise
• Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Combine the port, sugar, and orange zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let cool. Remove the orange zest and refrigerate syrup.
2. Combine the half-and-half, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, and salt in a blender container. Add the flour in 3 parts, pulsing for 10 seconds after each addition. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
3. In the meantime, make the port cream. Place the 1/2 cup heavy cream in a medium bowl and either whisking by hand or using an electric mixer, beat until cream thickens. Drizzle in 1 1/2 tablespoons (I probably used 2 1/2 tablespoons) of the reduced port syrup and whisk until you have soft peaks. Refrigerate the whipped cream and remaining syrup separately.
4. PREHEAT OVEN to 425˚F. Brush a 9-inch cast iron skillet or baking dish with melted butter; dust with sugar. Pulse the custard mixture once again and pour into the prepared skillet or dish. Arrange the figs in the skillet, cut side up.
5. Place skillet on the middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375˚ and continue to bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the custard filling is just set and light golden.
6. Allow the clafoutis to cool for 5 minutes, then dust with Confectioners' sugar. To serve, drizzle a little port syrup over individual slices of clafoutis and top with a dollop of whipped port cream.
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