This is a 'winter' dessert recipe popular in many of the upscale tavernas in Athens and always offered at the end of a meal. The dried figs are poached in wine and served with fresh manouri cheese, fresh mint (more than just a garnish!), and a drizzle of honey with cinnamon.
- Place the figs in a wide saucepan and cover with hot water.
- Soak them for 1 hour.
- Pour in the Mavrodaphne wine and the spices.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the figs are very plump and tender.
- Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon, and strain the poaching liquid, discarding the spices and any seeds that may have leaked out from the figs.
- Return the poaching liquid to the pot, add honey, and boil until reduced and thick and the consistency of syrup, about 5-7 minutes.
- Slice the manouri cheese into 1/2-inch rounds, carefully so as to keep the pieces intact.
- Place the cheese slices in one overlapping row on a large platter.
- Place the poached figs evenly over them and pour over the syrup.
- Serve immediately, garnish with mint and a discreet pinch of ground cinnamon, if desired.
The fig lovers in this family really loved this dessert - the others found it challenging! I loved it, and that is what counts, so it gets 5 stars! It probably did not taste as it would from the country of origin, because I could not get the specified wine, so used a very fruity syrah that was recommended to me by a chef, the cheese is also not available in my country so had to use ricotta. The honey I used was quite dark coloured as no thyme honey here, but it was a NZ bush honey. One comment that was made was that the finished dish looked like a plate of mushrooms on a bed of sour cream with coriander sprinkled on top, which has inspired a new dinner party idea. To make the main course look like dessert and the dessert to look like a main course! Now that would be a challenge!!