Stuffed Figs - Beth Tully

Chef's Note: Luscious stuffed figs speak to all the senses. One glorious fig makes a complete dessert. The very best, extra-fancy dried figs are in the market from October to March. Look for moist fruit with supple texture and full shape for stuffing.

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (52 to 62 percent cacao), finely chopped
24 to 36 dried Calimyrna figs, depending on size
1½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, tempered

In saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat just until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let set for 6 to 8 hours at room temperature.

Prepare the figs for stuffing by gently rolling between your thumb and fingers to loosen the seeds and soften the flesh. Insert a wooden or metal skewer in the hole in the bottom of the fig and wiggle it to enlarge the hole slightly for stuffing.

When the ganache is set, gently stir with a rubber spatula a few times. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a small round ¼ inch tip (No. 803). Hold each fig's stem gently between your index and middle fingers, using your thumb to support the plump fruit. Insert the tip of the pastry bag into the fig's bottom. Gently squeeze, stuffing until the fig is plump and full. Do not worry about leaks in the fig's skin. They can be fixed later.

Place filled figs on a parchment or waxed paper-lined pan and allow to set at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, scrape the excess filling from each fig's exterior. To dip, follow the tempering instructions. Holding it by the stem, dip the bottom half of each fig in bittersweet chocolate. Place the fruit back on the parchment-lined pan and let chocolate set. Snip off the very tip of each stem, which is too tough to be eaten. Makes 24 to 36.