Stewed Figs and Mascarpone

Anjir ka Meetha

Madeleines of tonka beans, or the art of the offhand shortcut! It would be an insult to assume that a dessert chez Marquet could consist of nothing more than a few skinny madeleines set on a plate and sprinkled with beans. The pastry was hardly more than a pretext, that of a psalm – sweet, honeyed, fondant and dripping – where, in the mad confusion of sponge, candied fruits, icings, crepes, chocolate, sabayons, red berries, ice creams and sorbets, a progressive passage from hot to cold was being explored by my expert tongue; it clucked with compulsive satisfaction, it danced a devilish jig at the merriest of balls.

– The Gourmet, Muriel Barbery

When we were young, on special occasions, my mother made a seemingly simple, yet mouth-wateringly luscious dessert, Stewed Apricots with Cream. I waited for those times. Textured, silky, syrupy combination of the apricots (served warm) with heavy cream, made for an eye-catching presentation. Understated and elegant. And the smell, so tantalizing! Recently, I came across another version of this dessert in Brooklyn, Wine-stewed Prunes with Mascarpone, a grown-up version of my childhood favorite. Equally delicious.

I have my own take. Although you can use most dried fruits, I prefer figs. The seeds provide a crunchy component and, more importantly, my kids love figs. Instead of wine, the taste of which I found a little too present, I stew in water with bitters, cardamom and just a drizzle of honey as the natural sweetness of the fruit tends to come through.


  • Dried figs, 1 pound
  • Mascarpone, 2 8oz. containers
  • Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Cardamom, seeds of 6-8 pods, extracted and crushed
  • Honey


  1. Combine figs, cardamom, 4-5 splashes of bitters, a drizzle of honey (about 1-2 tbsp) and enough water to cover the figs in a pot over medium-high heat. When mixture boils, reduce to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes or until the liquid turns syrupy.
  2. Remove from heat, and rest for 15 minutes or so. Add some of the syrup to a helping of mascarpone cheese and mix to get a smooth texture, almost yogurt-like.  Spread on the plate, add figs and drizzle with more syrup. Serve warm.
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Seemin Zaidi says:

    How innovative!!


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