Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs

green figs 5

One night last week Jeff came home from work and handed me a bag from his clinic. I thought, "Yes! More free anti-wrinkle cream!" (Having a dermatologist as a husband does have its advantages). When I peeked inside the bag, however, I discovered something even better than antioxidant cream: a dozen plump, brilliant green figs that were beginning to split from ripeness. "Wow! Where did you get the fresh figs?" I asked. "Adel gave them to me from the tree in her yard," he said.

Adel, who works with Jeff, told him, "Last year my tree produced three figs. One for me, one for my husband, and one for the birds." Fortunately she's having a bumper crop this season, and we're two of the lucky beneficiaries.

fig risotto bonny

To celebrate fall's arrival, I'm sharing a recipe for Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs. Arborio rice, which is used to make risotto, makes the most luxurious rice pudding imaginable: it's plump, tender, and creamy. Topping it with perfumed, wine-poached figs adds elegance and sweetness, resulting in a remarkably velvety, rich pudding.

Just don't wait too long to try this recipe because, sadly, fresh fig season will be over soon. Though my inclination is to lament their passing, I've decided to be more practical this year. I've turned my attention to fall's upcoming stars: persimmons and Medjool dates. I already feel better.

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

Poached Figs:
2 cups Muscata wine (or other sweet dessert wine of your choice)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split down the middle
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 whole orange peel from a fresh orange
8 fresh Brown Turkish Turkey or Black Mission figs, quartered

1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios, for garnish
Orange zest curls, for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, add wine, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel, and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce becomes slightly syrupy.

Removes the stems from the figs and cut into quarters. Add to the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add rice, water, milk, and sugar to a medium, shallow, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir well, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, letting the rice bubble gently for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, the rice will be plump, and the pudding will be thick and creamy. Give it a taste--the rice should be fully cooked yet maintain a slight firmness.

Allow to cool slightly before placing in individual serving dishes. Top with a spoonful of poached figs and drizzle the sauce over the pudding. Garnish with chopped pistachios and orange zest curls. Pudding can be served warm or at room temperature.

You might also like:

KW SRusso pumpkin pie risotto

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest
I was saddened to learn that Gina De Palma, author of the splendid cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and executive pastry chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC,has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of Gina, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (via and to partake in their O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest. Interested? Here's what you need to do (this is from Sara's blog):

1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;


2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.


3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.

  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.


From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!

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