Prosciutto-wrapped Figs with Cambazola (makes 8 servings)
Cambazola is a cross between camembert and gorgonzola and works particularly well with the sweetness of figs and the saltiness of prosciutto, but you may use any creamy blue cheese in this recipe.
8 large figs
2 tbsp. (30 mL) pure maple syrup
1/4 lb. (115 g) cambazola cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto or thinly sliced, good quality ham
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Slice stems off figs and, keeping the bottom 1/4 intact, cut each fig into quarters lengthwise. Drizzle a little maple syrup into the centre of each fig, then fill with 1 tbsp. (15 mL) cambazola. Season with black pepper and wrap each fig snugly with a piece of prosciutto to enclose the cheese; secure with a toothpick if necessary.
Using tongs, place figs on a non-stick baking sheet (or spray baking sheet with cooking spray). Bake for 6 to 8 minutes just until prosciutto is beginning to crisp and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Fresh Fig Tart with Crème Fraîche (makes 6-8 serving)
Thanks to frozen puff pastry, you can make this elegant tart in no time. The ground almond and sugar base, known as frangipane, can be made in advance.
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) ground almonds
1 tsp. (5 mL) almond essence
1/2 lb. (225 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 lb. (450 g) figs, halved, stems removed
2-3 tbsp. (30-45 mL) clear honey
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Combine butter, sugar and almonds in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add egg and almond essence; blend again to form a smooth paste.
Roll out and line an 8-by-12-in. (20-by-30-cm) tart tin with the pastry. Place a piece of parchment paper overtop and hold in place with pie weights or dried beans. Bake pastry until just golden (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F (180°C). Pour filling over pastry as evenly and smoothly as possible. Arrange fig halves in neat rows in the filling. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until pastry is golden brown and figs are beginning to release their juices. Toward the end of the cooking time, warm honey slightly in a saucepan or microwave. Using a pastry brush, apply honey to outside of figs. Return to the oven for a final 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm with the crème fraîche (or unsweetened whipping cream).