Poached Figs with Marscapone and Banfi Rosa Regale
Banfi Rosa Regale is fairly unique sparkling wine, at least in my experience. It is sweet and low in acid, with flavors and aromas of rose, raspberry, black cherry, strawberry and plum. The mouth feel is both creamy and sparkling, with a finish of delicious vanilla. It is also quite low in alcohol, 7%, which is nice with dessert, or even as dessert, if you have already had wine with dinner.
Rosa Regale is delicious as an aperitif, it could play nice with spicy food, and it is great as a dessert accompaniment. This wine seems to be a particular favorite of chocoholics, but I don’t think it works as well with it as it is reputed to. It does, however, match up very well with the following recipe.
Poached Figs with Marscapone Cheese
Cut the stems off as many figs as you plan to serve. I usually figure on 2 per person. Cut in half. In a small sauce pan add enough wine, this works with either red or white, to just come to the top of the figs when they are added. Don’t worry too much about the amount, a little too much won’t matter because you will reduce the liquid afterwards anyway. Add a few generous splashes of a good balsamic vinegar and a cinnamon stick and start to warm it up over med-high heat.
Once the liquid starts to warm and you see a hint of steam and everyone in the house has come wandering into the kitchen to see what smells so good, add a few healthy squirts of honey to your mixture and mix it in. Add your figs and poach until tender. Keep the heat just high enough for a very gentle simmer to keep the figs from being beaten up by the motion of the water. You are better off steeping them than letting them boil.
After the figs begin to look just cooked, which can happen in less than a minute depending on ripeness, carefully remove them from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool. Turn the heat up on the liquid and stir in a couple tablespoons of sugar and a split vanilla bean, simmer to reduce.
While liquid is reducing, take a small container of room temperature marscapone cheese, and add it to a mixing bowl with tsp of good vanilla extract, the juice of one lemon, a little freshly grated nutmeg (you know how much you like), a good squirt of honey, and mix with a fork. Refrigerate.
When the poaching liquid starts to get shiny and syrupy, remove from the heat and refrigerate. To serve, I add some of the cheese mixture to the bottom of the bowl, arrange the fig halves around the bowl and drizzle some of the syrup over the top. I usually leave the figs at room temperature, and top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.
The richness of the figs and the cheese pair up wonderfully with the creamy vanilla finish of the wine, and the fizziness helps cut through the richness to make you crave another spoonful. It really is a quite delicious, albeit vicious, circle.