I do not know why I had such a hard time writing up this post. The recipe involves so many of my favorite things; you would think the words would come pouring out of me. But that wasn’t the case this time. I think it had something to do with my usual habit of taking on way too many things at once causing me to lapse into periods of lucidity. If I was writing about my daughter’s 10th birthday or the complete refurbishment of my son’s bedroom, then I would have a lot to say. Of late, those activities have consumed me.
But today, it’s all about the figs and how I watch with anticipation as my small fledgling tree pops out progressively more figs with each passing year. This year appeared to be abundant with nearly 25 immature figs teasing me every day until they ripened. I won’t pick my figs until their plump, purplish-black skins begin to split. Their sweet, sticky, warmed-by-the-sun flesh is pure heaven and definitely worth the wait. When you add gorgonzola and mascarpone cheeses, chopped figs, a drizzle of lavender honey, and a sprinkle of roasted slivered almonds it’s like ambrosial nirvana. Every bite renders me speechless. Perhaps that is why I couldn’t write this post until now.
Mascarpone-Gorgonzola-Fig Terrine with Almonds and Lavender Honey
Recipe inspired by Jackson Somerset Catering, the catering company I used for all of my events when I was a working girl.
In cooking, there is usually room for substitution, but I have to hold firm on the lavender honey. I wouldn’t make this using anything but that. Sadly, lavender honey isn’t as easily available as the ubiquitous clover honey so I mail order mine from Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm in Maui. I’ve been to Maui, but I never knew this lavender farm existed until my neighbor told me about it. I’ll definitely be visiting their farm next October when I and a bunch of my girlfriends
release the shackles of marriage and motherhood and turn Wailea on its ear for one week seek sun and solace at a resort in Wailea, Maui.
Fresh Black Mission figs (or dried if fresh are out of season)
Blanched, slivered almonds, roasted
These are the ingredients that you will need to assemble this appetizer. There is no cooking involved. A quick trip to your local Trader Joe’s will secure all that you need, including the fresh figs. You’ll need to act quickly as the fresh figs have a short season, so get while the gettin’s good. I have made this during the holidays and I will use dried Black Mission figs (also from Trader Joe’s) and plump them up in some boiling water.
This is a rich appetizer, so I go small when it’s just for me and a few guests. If I were serving this at a party, I would make it in a mini loaf pan. Line the dish or pan of your choice with plastic wrap. Scoop a little mascarpone and spread it into the plastic lined dish to make your first layer. I used about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup. For the next layer, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola cheese and press it down a bit. Repeat the next layer with mascarpone followed by gorgonzola. Continue until you’ve filled your dish. Fold the plastic wrap over the exposed cheese and refrigerate for a few hours. I make this a day ahead.
Unwrap the terrine and prepare yourself for the food porn that is about to take place.
See what I mean about the splitting of the skins? This is when I know the figs are at their sweetest. I had to edit out some of the fig photos because a fig sliced in half reminds me of subliminal advertising messages I learned about in college.
Place chopped figs on top of the terrine and scatter some around the platter because you will definitely want more. Sprinkle roasted slivered almonds in the same way and drizzle with the most delicious lavender honey you can get your hands on. Serve with simple water crackers because you don’t want any other flavors getting in the way.