As I walked around the farmers market over the past two weeks I was struck by the colorful plethora of summer fruits that were on display. Peaches – white and yellow, juicy and sweet, plums, nectarines, pluots in myriad shades of pink, purple and red, the last of season’s apricots – golden and luscious, and tables beautifully arrayed with berries in every color. It was a feast for the eyes and for my basket as I filled it with a sampling of all of these wonderful fruit.

Then to my amazement I saw figs! They are early this year and as sensuous and tasty as ever. On the way back from the market I picked up some incredible ham and some goat cheese. Paired with some fresh basil from my garden I made a sandwich with the ham and goat cheese and the figs with the chopped basil and a drizzle of lemon olive oil. Amazing. Since then I’ve been making all sorts of things with figs including the poached ones below.

FIGS POACHED IN SPICED GINGER SYRUP WITH MASCARPONE CRÈME FRAICHE

Serves 8 people

¾ cup sugar

1 ¾ cups water

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick

4 cardamom pods

¼ cup crystallized ginger

16 white figs

8 black figs

  1. Place the sugar in a pan with the water, lemon, cardamom pods, cinnamon and ginger. Bring to a boil, making sure that the sugar dissolves completely. Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully place the figs in the syrup and bring the liquid slowly back to a boil. As soon as the syrup comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the figs cool down in the pan.
  3. Serve in shallow bowls or ramekins with a dollop of the mascarpone crème fraiche.

For the mascarpone crème fraiche:

6 oz crème fraiche

8 oz mascarpone

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon honey

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together well. This mixture will keep well for at least 24 hours.
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