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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Stuffed Figs


I like this dessert because it's easy to whip up at the last minute using ingredients I usually have on hand.

Or I can improvise. The figs and cocoa powder are essential, but you can substitute other raw nuts for the almonds and walnuts, like pistachios, cashews or coconut. Or you can use raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

12 to 15 dried figs
1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
2 pitted dates
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
1 to 2 tbsp honey
1 orange

Preheat oven to 300F.

If the figs have tough stem ends, trim them. Use a kitchen scissors to cut the top of each fig in half, leaving the bottom third of the fig intact.

Rotate it 90 degrees and cut again.

You should be able to separate the quarters enough to place some filling inside.

Set the prepared figs aside.

Finely chop the almonds, walnuts and dates in a food processor or by hand. Mix in the cocoa powder, cinnamon, sea salt and zest from the orange if it is organic (otherwise, skip it). Drizzle in the honey, enough to cause clumps to form, and use a rubber spatula to mix it thoroughly. Be patient, this is a sticky job.

Fill each fig with a spoonful of the chocolate mixture and stand it up in an oven-proof dish large enough to accommodate all of the figs but small enough to make them fit snugly.

Juice the orange and pour it over the figs. There should be about a centimeter of liquid in the baking dish. If not, add a little water.

Transfer the figs to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the figs have warmed and the sauce has reduced.

Transfer the figs to a serving dish and pour the sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

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