This is a simple desert to make ahead. Keep it on hand for a quick fix of something sweet after dinner. It can also be served as an accompaniment to a Sunday brunch or lazy weekday breakfast.—Marie Simmons
1 bottle Gewurztraminer or Johannisberg Riesling wine
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 ounces dried Calimyrna figs (12 to 14 figs)
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken in half
4 ounces apricots (about 12 halves)
1/2 cup crème fraîche, fromage blanc, or yogurt, optional
1 tablespoon toasted sliced natural (unskinned) almonds, optional
1. Combine the wine and sugar in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean; add the seeds and the bean to the syrup. Add the figs and cinnamon sticks. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes; add the apricots and cook until the fruits are plumped and tender, about 25 minutes more.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean to a heat-resistant bowl. Boil the wine syrup, uncovered, until it is reduced to about 2 cups. Pour the syrup over the figs and stir to blend.
3. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours. Eat plain or with a spoonful of crème fraîche, yogurt, or fromage blanc on top. Garnish with almonds if desired.
Recipe © 2004 Marie Simmons. All rights reserved.