When I lived in the Algarve, in Portugal, I used to eat figs all the time, because it is such a favourable climate, the figier grew everywhere. As a result of a particularly bad drive on the golf course one day, I found myself off the fairway surrounded by fig trees loaded with fruit … so ripe, so good, that I ate one fig, then another and another until I completely forgot the game! Meanwhile, my friend, still totally intent on the game, marched ahead. That shows you how much I like figs. The best ones for me are the purple-black ones, with their succulent flavor that is perfect in this gratin. The spiced crisp cake is just what you need to complement the dish, while the smooth yogurt with honey—well, imagine how good that is.
– PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes, plus freezing.
– COOKING TIME 40 minutes.
– 3½-inch piece ginger cake, or other spice cake, frozen until almost hard.
– 12 firm purple-black figs, cut into quarters from top to bottom but not all the.
– way through, so the figs are held together.
– 2 tablespoons honey.
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
– 5 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt.
– 2 egg yolks.
Step 2: Put the cake slices on the prepared baking sheet, cover with the second sheet of paper, then the second baking sheet so the slices are held flat, then bake 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully lift off the top sheet and paper, checking the cake is not too colored, then put the first baking sheet back in the oven 3 to 4 minutes longer so the slices dry out. Remove from the oven and leave the cake slices to cool. Turn the oven up to 350°F.
Step 3: Put the figs in a baking sheet, cut-side up, drizzle the honey and 4 tablespoons water over and sprinkle with 2 pinches of the cinnamon. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until they are soft; there will be lovely liquid left in the baking sheet. Pour half the liquid into a large, heatproof bowl and leave to one side. Pour the remaining half into a serving bowl with the yogurt and mix well. Heat the broiler to medium.
Step 4: Add the egg yolks to the juices in the heatproof bowl and mix together. Rest the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Beat the mixture 8 to 10 minutes, using an electric mixer, until it turns pale, becomes thicker and forms ribbonlike shapes when you lift the whisks out of the mixture. Spoon straight over the figs, then put the baking sheet under the broiler a fewminutes until they are just brown. You don’t want it too close to the broiler, or to leave it too long, just until it is light golden brown.
Step 5: Sprinkle the yogurt with the remaining cinnamon. Serve the figs hot with the spiced crisp slices to dip into the yogurt.