Fresh figs drive me bonkers. Their slightly squishy and crunchy seeded texture is only parallel to an over ripe and collapsing kiwi fruit.
The fragrant fig character is the unique promise of tropical fruit—but not quite—immixed with timbery oaky-coconut it’s an oddball in the fruit world.
It’s no surprise that wine writers tasting chardonnay wax on about the similarity of chardonnay to fig. Even more of freakish similarity is the odour of a chardonnay barrel hall and fig tree in full fruit-set.
A colleague at work brought in a heaving bowl of fresh figs, presumably from an equally heaving and well-guarded tree. I couldn’t resist greedily stashing them away for a weekend feast and so the burnt fig and blue cheese French toast was born.
Burnt fig and blue cheese French toast
(French toast recipe adapted from Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander)
6 fresh figs
60-100 grams of blue cheese (old King Island blue ‘Roaring Forties’)
4 slices of bread (we used sprouted spelt which was not the best choice)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk
butter to fry in
Halve figs and place a small knob of blue in the cavity.
Grill for 10-15 min carefully watching to control the burn. Take it in 5 min increments to ensure you don’t over do it. Leave the figs in the oven to retain heat.
Whisk all French toast ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate bread slices flying flat.
Soak each slice thorough and fry on a well-buttered griddle.
Once all slices are fried, pile the figs and cheese on the toast and serve.
Side note: because we’re tight-asses we bought an ‘expired’ waxed blue cheese (as it was on special). We'd forgotten if for a week before using it, and it was still good except we needed to trim a little bit back. Thinking about it, it was probably a poor choice as we wasted a good cheese.
The sprouted spelt was way too grainy/savoury for the contrast of fig and blue cheese. A white sourdough would have been perfect. I was impatient in getting the figs out of the oven (and not ‘burning’ them too much) so this dish really didn’t sing to me, but perhaps you may have better luck…