Figs in Cabernet Sauvignon
Udo Nechutnys always approaches dishes with great creativity. For this delicious dessert, he marinates fresh figs, then uses the marinade as a syrup. The almond ice cream quenelles served with the fruit started out as creme anglaise. The almonds, figs, and Cabernet Sauvignon are California at its best.
- Creme Anglaise
- Milk - 1 quart
- Sugar - 1/2 pound
- Egg Yolks - 10 to 12
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Ripe Figs - 2
- Sugar for dusting
- Cabernet Sauvignon - 6 ounces
- Almonds - 1 cup, sliced and blanched
- Pistachio paste - 2 ounces
To make the creme anglaise: Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Place the sugar and egg yolks in a mixer and whip. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture (save the pods and put them in a container of sugar to make vanilla sugar). Mix again. With the beater running, slowly add the milk. Put this mixture in a large metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Use a wooden spatula or spoon to gently stir the egg mixture so that it heats but does not cook. When the egg mixture is puffed, place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and stir until cooled. Set aside.
To prepare the figs: Peel the figs and cut in half. Sprinkle with sugar. Place in a large bowl with the wine and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Marinate overnight (at least 3 hours). Drain, reserving both figs and marinade. Chill both in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature before using.
To finish: Pour the creme anglaise into a saucepan over medium heat and add 2/3 cup of the almonds and the pistachio paste. Heat until the mixture gives off a little steam. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. To store, pack into an airtight container and freeze in the freezer. Soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before using.
To serve: Put two fig halves on each chilled dessert plate. Shape the creme anglaise ice cream into quenelles and put on the plates. Drizzle with fig marinade. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with the remaining almonds.