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Oven-Poached Figs with Ricotta

(recipe, Megan Scott)

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  1. ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon, divided
  2. 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  3. ¼ cup sweet or dry Marsala
  4. 8 large fresh figs
  5. ⅓ cup good-quality ricotta
  6. ⅓ cup heavy cream
  7. Bittersweet chocolate, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine ½ cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Add the scraped vanilla bean, reserving the seeds. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and add the Marsala.
  2. Halve the figs and split each half down the middle, leaving the stem ends uncut so that the fig halves remain intact. Place them in a small, shallow baking dish, and spoon the Marsala syrup over them. Bake until the figs are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon sugar, and the vanilla-bean seeds.
  4. When the figs have finished poaching, serve them on a plate with some of the syrup and topped with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture. Garnish with the shaved bittersweet chocolate.