I'm obsessed with MasterChef Australia.
Don't judge me! First, let me just say that it is a world and a half different from MasterChef US. It lacks the intense dramatization, the ridiculously drawn-out misleading announcements of who's going home, the swearing and throwing of plates into the garbage... Instead it focuses on (surprise, surprise) cooking! So I watch this show all of the time and one thing I see at least once every season is caramelized figs. I tried making them once a couple years back, before I knew anything about working with caramels (it's not that hard, but there are a few tricks and ground rules). Needless to say, they were not excellent. But I decided to give them another go, now armed with the culinary knowledge of 4 seasons of Australian MasterChef episodes. This time, the results were utterly delicious. I particularly enjoy how mild the sweetness is. Between the figs, the dark caramel, and the balsamic glaze, there's a nice little hint of savoriness that develops. It comes together in minutes and makes a very satisfying breakfast or even a light lunch. Simple, easy, figgy deliciousness.
CARAMELIZED BALSAMIC FIGS AND YOGURT
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1 serving
3 ripe figs, halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar, hefty pinch of salt, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or 1/2 tsp balsamic reduction
1 tsp butter, 2 tsp heavy cream
1 cup of Greek yogurt, sprinkling of granola or toasted nuts
Get a small dry pan over fairly high heat. While it heats, combine sugar and salt in a bowl. Toss the figs in this mixture a couple of times, so they are well-coated. Place the figs open-face down in the hot pan. Let the figs cook and caramelize for about 3-4 minutes, lightly tossing the pan (no stirring!) every once in a while and turning the figs over half way through. The caramel should have some nice color to it at this point and the figs should be starting to soften, but use your judgement as to when to pull them off the heat. They will be a bit sticky and the caramel will be a little hard (don't worry, we'll fix that). Pull the figs off the heat, add the balsamic, and toss the pan vigorously to mix. Then add the butter and cream and give the pan a good toss again.
Let the figs cool for a minute or so. Get your yogurt into a bowl. Top with the figs and a little drizzle of the left-over caramel, if you please. Sprinkle with granola or toasted nuts.