Culture: Give us some fig-gy pudding by chef James Carn
I absolutely love this time of year as a chef and not just because the kitchen cools down!
After a truly memorable summer with weeks of fantastic sun, albeit a tough one for fruit and vegetables, it’s great to see the turning trees as they prepare for winter, with the cooler mornings and shorter days.
It’s such a fantastic season for produce too, with game in abundance, truffles, wild mushrooms and pumpkins! Sauces begin to get slightly heavier with a touch more butter and desserts become more indulgent – it really is a happy time of year for cooking!
I have chosen to write about a particular favourite fruit of mine in this month’s column, the fig. They are such a versatile fruit, fantastic in salads, paired with cured meats or cheese, and turned into chutneys. But for this recipe I am sharing they are poached classically, and served with a good dollop of quality crème fraîche and a super simple chocolate mousse.
Poached Figs with chocolate water mousse, crème fraiche, amaretti biscuits
8 black mission figs (other varieties will suffice)
1 star anise
600ml of water
150ml red wine
1 vanilla pod
Chocolate water mousse:
225g chocolate 70%
200g mineral water
100g crème fraîche and 50g amaretti biscuits
l For the figs, mix all the ingredients in a heavy based saucepan, place on a medium heat and bring to the boil.
l Once boiling, leave for 1 minute, remove from the heat and place a plate or similar object on top of the figs to keep them submerged in the cooking liquor. Leave to cool on the side until required
l For the chocolate mousse get two metal bowls (1 smaller and 1 larger), place the chocolate in the smaller one and half fill the larger one with ice and tap water
l Boil the mineral water and pour over the chocolate and whisk together. Once combined, place the bowl into the ice bath and whisk continuously for a few minutes until it thickens to the texture of whipped cream, remove the bowl from the ice bath and leave in fridge until required
Use a hot spoon to scoop as nice dollop of chocolate mouse onto the plate, add another spoonful of crème fraiche and then two figs, top with crushed amaretti biscuits and a few spoonfuls of the fig cooking liquor. Enjoy!
James Carn is a local chef and can be found at various ‘pop-up’ venues around Suffolk. Follow on Instagram @chefjamescarn