Serves 10 to 12 as part of a large menu
10 min prep, 40 min, divided cooking, 50 min total

A lush, yet light dessert that's much better if made a day ahead.


  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup honey, or to taste
  • 20 whole dried white or black figs
  • Water as needed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablepoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the wine, honey and figs in a 5-6 quart non-reactive saucepan. Add enough water to barely cover the figs.

2. Stir in the cinnamon, pepper, salt and vanilla. Bring to a simmer. Cook partially covered for about 30 minutes or until figs are tender, but not falling apart. If making ahead, cool and refrigerate the fruit in its syrup.

3. Serve by setting room-temperature figs, stem-side up, on dessert dishes. Boil down cooking liquid until syrupy (about 8 to 10 minutes). Spoon over the fruit.

Variation with mascarpone cheese:
Mascarpone is a dense, creamy fresh cheese from Italy. If it isn't available, whip some heavy cream and flavor it with vanilla. You'll need about one cup of either. Use organic ingredients if possible. Place a generous daub of mascarpone or whipped cream next to each serving.