Roasted Caramel Figs, Berry and Apple Compote Verrines
When I visited Lisa last year in October, I kept marveling at the coming of Fall, the changing nature of the landscape and the foliage. Those deep reds, perfect greens and deliciously rich golds…they were making me happy and dreamy. She got quite amused by my attitude toward something so natural as Fall and asked what on earth was going on deep in the South for me to act as if I had not seen Fall in ages? Didn’t leaves change colors down there? She was stumped when I told her that they turned from green to brown. No luscious displays of colors, just brown…and if we were lucky a little beige-orange. Nothing like the landscape that was unfolding in front of my eyes as we were driving along.
It becomes difficult to start cooking with pumpkins, pears and apples when you are still wearing shorts and tee-shirts in the middle of November. Granted the evenings are chilly but nothing that a light cardigan can’t fix. Stores and floral shops do their best to put us in the mood by displaying the right colors and adding sweaters and buckled shoes into their window displays but food…I have to close my eyes and pretend I am experiencing Fall in my kitchen. As much as I dislike the heat and humidity of our summer I do realize how lucky we are to be grilling out late in the year without a coat on and not shoveling snow in February. So, yes I am torn…I relinquish saying goodbye to the bounty of summer fruits but I am also eager to cook with more seasonal ones when we can’t quite experience Fall like others up north.
To celebrate the arrival of mellower days, I decided to make a "transition dessert" including berries, figs and apples. When I was a little girl growing in Apt, Provence, we used to have a small fig tree next to the driveway and I remember coming home from school in late September, early October and picking up the fruits as soon as I would hop out of the car. Summer was picking up cherries from our giant tree and as soon as school would start it was figs and juicy apples from the next door neighbor. The seasons were milder there too but you could clearly feel the changes in the air. Although I grew up eating figs, we rarely cooked with them, that came later when I truly appreciated the virtues of a good fig puree, enhanced by a little caramel.
The other day I was on the phone with my mother and we started to reminisce about grandma and her cooked fruits, her compotes rather. She made the best apple one and her cooked berries were always one of our requests for breakfast. I hung up with mom and told myself that it was exactly what I was going to do and layer them in a "verrine" and serve them with some cookies. The weather was clement, there was even a light chill that morning so the cookies turned into a crumble and the figs got mixed with the berries….What is Fall without a little crumble on top?!! A few spoonful of it the other night and we almost wanted to build up a fire!!
The verrine did not start that way actually. I had a small basket of figs that I needed to use rather fast and decided to dip them into caramel before roasting them briefly in the oven. We enjoyed some hot or warm on a few scoops of vanilla ice cream and I was left with just enough to add them to something else. I put that thought away and moved on to other things….not for long though! It is preferable to serve this warm or room temperature, thus it is better to start by making the crumble part, so once you have all the other elements ready, all you have to do is layer them in glasses. Before you think there are too many elements to make this an easy desserts, let me tell you that you can prepare everything over a couple of days. Make the compotes ahead of time (freeze them if you want), then reheat them just before serving. The crumble can be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days (can be frozen also), and just pop it in the microwave or the oven before serving.
Roasted Caramel Figs, Berries and Apple Compotes Verrines:
For the crumble:
1 cup (140 gr) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 gr) light packed brown sugar
1 stick (113 gr) butter, softened
In a medium bowl, combine with your fingertips or a pastry blender the flour, sugar and butter and form large clumps of dough. Lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350F until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature before breaking the clumps into smaller crumbs.
For the caramel figs:
3 Tb ( 42 gr) butter
1/4 cup (50gr) packed light brown sugar
6 fresh figs, halved.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the half figs on it, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook them over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted (2-3 minutes). Remove from the heat.
With a spoon, divide the caramel over the figs and roast them in the oven for about 3 to 5 mintues or tunil they become tender and wrinkly. Set aside to cool and puree them in a food processor, set aside.
For the berry compote:
1/2 cup (120gr) raspberries
1/2 cup (120gr) strawberries
1/4 cup sugar (62 gr) sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
Combine all the ingredients in a heave saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the fruits start to release their juice and become soft. Let cool.
Add this compote to the caramel fig puree. Set aside.
For the apple compote:
4 large apples (your preference) peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup (50gr) packed light brown sugar
2 Tb water
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the apples become soft and almost mushy. Remove from the heat and let cool.
To assemble: layer the berry-fig compote at the bottom of 6 glasses, top with a layer of apple compote and top with the crumble. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 8:06 am
You know those cherry-apple cobbler things that come with Healthy Choice dinners? Your gorgeous compotes are what those "desserts" WISH they could be!
… And I’m sure the fact that I just owned up to eating HC meals on Tartlette earns me *major* points, huh? ;-D
Meeta K. Wolff September 12, 2008 um 8:31 am
yes i do love experiencing the wonderful change from summer to fall although there is always the dread of the winter ahead!! figs are on my list of crazy cooking at the moment and I am going a bit wild with them! love these!
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 8:37 am
Oh, that looks divine. I shouldn’t read this before breakfast ;).
Cannelle Et Vanille September 12, 2008 um 8:50 am
wow… our pastry wave length was really in tune this time helen… marvellous… yes, i agree about missing fall. it’s hard to get in the mood when it is still hundred degrees out side and threatened with hurricanes but then i see images like these and i sigh… bravo!
Christy September 12, 2008 um 9:04 am
Do you and Aran conspire on what to post this week? No wonder so many people call you Aran and as many called her Helen!
Anyway, we don’t get teh rich, deep autumnal colours here either.. just plain green to brown. And as much as I love fall produce, I dread the cold. I wish there is somewhere that I could live where we can have excellent fall produce without the sure guarantee of the coming chill…
Manggy September 12, 2008 um 9:33 am
If you’re feeling amazed by fall, I think I would be blown out of this world… Imagine getting only tropical fruits readily, hee hee 🙂 But you’re lucky to be in that transition zone, where you can come up with beautiful "fusion" desserts! That verrine looks luscious!
Botacook September 12, 2008 um 10:09 am
Magnifique dessert automnal inspiré par de jolis souvenirs! Il me tente beaucoup, car j’adore les produits de l’automne 🙂
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 10:37 am
MyKitchenInHalfCups September 12, 2008 um 10:54 am
I am looking forward to a driving trip at the end of the month to Michigan. We should get to watch all the fall change as we head north! I’m really looking forward to the chill in the air and our first fire in the fireplace. This fig verrine would be just the thing!
Sylvie September 12, 2008 um 11:35 am
Clumbsy Cookie September 12, 2008 um 11:40 am
Helen I just adore the idea of "transition" dessert! And everything is better with a little crumbe!
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 12:19 pm
Such lovely props you find. Those spoons and glass cups are adorable. Do you spend a lot of time shopping or do you have a prop stylist friend?
The Italian Dish September 12, 2008 um 12:23 pm
These are absolutely beautiful. How I wish I could get fresh figs where I live.
Eileen September 12, 2008 um 12:24 pm
I love your photos of the figs dipped in caramel. I photographed fig trees this summer in Provence. The leaves are so beautiful. How wonderful to actually have a fig tree in your yard!
LizNoVeggieGirl September 12, 2008 um 1:10 pm
Most beautiful "transition dessert" I’ve even seen!!
Mike of Mike's Table September 12, 2008 um 1:25 pm
I’m with you on the season thing…I grew up in the northeast and then came down to Florida where there’s really no such thing as autumn. Its tough to get into it.
As for this dessert, I love the sound of it. I get overly into figs and like many fruits I adore, I go overboard and buy more than I can feasibly get through so it becomes a mad rush to manage them all before any go past their prime. This looks like a fantastic, quick way to put those spoiled-before-you-blink figs to good use. I’ll have to try this one out this weekend!
RecipeGirl September 12, 2008 um 1:39 pm
It’s funny because I woke up with figs on the mind this morning. I’m having about 40 people over to my house tonight for appetizers and it was so tough to pick recipes since (as you mentioned) it’s a strange, transitional time between seasons. I wish I had picked up some figs at Costco yesterday. This looks wonderful!
Esi September 12, 2008 um 2:28 pm
I know what you mean about not having a real fall. I am totally jealous of all the people breaking out their fall clothes and enjoying the changing leaves. I do adore figs and this dessert looks right up my alley.
Anita September 12, 2008 um 2:41 pm
I guess everyone has figs on the brain! I love how your dessert highlights the beautiful colors of all the fruit!
Mari September 12, 2008 um 3:23 pm
That caramel over the figs looks like heaven…
cindy* September 12, 2008 um 4:05 pm
i love a crispy crumble topping with warm fruit. beautiful!
montague September 12, 2008 um 4:31 pm
i often complain about wanting to move somewhere where it’s sunny and warm all year round, and i think eventually, one day, i will. but i think i will miss the glorious change of seasons…
Amber September 12, 2008 um 5:10 pm
I only like spring and fall. Crisp mornings and lovely days. But the produce of summer is what I live for. I can not believe you made transitional, I am still fighting with every breath for what is left at the fruit stand. This is lovely and since I do not truly know what a verrine is I am looking it up now.
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 5:58 pm
OMG the caramel figs, hold me! Unreal.
pastry studio September 12, 2008 um 6:22 pm
What a gorgeous dessert. So many favorite elements. I’m definitely making this tomorrow! Thank you so much for your never-ending inspiration.
Amanda Scott September 12, 2008 um 7:04 pm
i know exactly what you mean…in dublin, there are no seasons, it just rains a bit more or a bit less, depending on the time of year. i miss virginia falls so much! thanks for your beautiful post and reminding me of home. i’ll definitely be making those scrumptious-looking figs! yum!
Patricia Scarpin September 12, 2008 um 7:38 pm
Helen, I love how the steps can be made ahead – that is so great for when we have guests, isn’t it?
The dessert looks wonderful!
I can relate to what you feel – can you imagine that today is 33ºC (91.4ºF) here?? In WINTER??
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 7:48 pm
oh yum figs!!
Anonymous September 12, 2008 um 9:12 pm
My grandmother used to make the most amazing fig preserves. Your post reminded me of them.
Helene September 12, 2008 um 10:11 pm
Dana: I shop for props really depending on finances available. I don’t have a friend food styling either, that would take all the fun out of it!!
Zoe Francois September 12, 2008 um 10:13 pm
I was just thinking about how the change of seasons is so exciting and yet a little frustrating to know which season to be cooking in? This is the perfect balance.
Leonor de Sousa Bastos September 12, 2008 um 10:57 pm
Season’s change… figs, compote and a crispy crumble… A delicious idea and a perfect presentation!
glamah16 September 12, 2008 um 11:10 pm
Im in element in fall. Its my favorite season.In cooking fall is also my most insoirational season. This is a wonderful dessert to celebrate the season.Love how you dipped the figs first, then roasted.
Pea and Pear September 13, 2008 um 5:06 am
Yippee for figs… I certainly have seen some gorgeous fig recipes today and these look delightful. Perfect as always Helen 😉
Anonymous September 13, 2008 um 5:08 am
It’s getting chilly here in California too. With all the beauty the fall comes with, i still prefer hot hot summer days:) love your idea of transition desserts. Beautiful pictures!
That Girl September 13, 2008 um 6:23 am
I really miss the seasons. Especially Autumn. We don’t even have green to brown in California.
Courtney Cerruti September 13, 2008 um 6:57 am
Beautiful images! I added you to my blog as one of my favs. I love beautiful food styling and anything with a French influence! Merci
raining sheep September 14, 2008 um 12:40 am
Oh I love berry compote. I will try your version as it looks delicious. I love putting oatmeal into the crumble, it gives it a really nutty taste almost after it is baked. Beautiful photos, as usual, which of course makes me hungry for a little something good.
Breadpitt September 14, 2008 um 2:23 am
the figs looks lovely , so do the dessert too. the square glasses were adorable …..!
Amber September 14, 2008 um 2:45 am
I’m rolling on the floor practically. Leslie had a post that explained it but she called it a world looking thing w/ the paper clippy thing on top. I thought it looked like a green cookie monster and you call it a green frog. What is it? This is like we are all at an auto repair trying to explain a noise or a part. Too funny. Thanks for the laugh and the help because it only sort of works for me but I will keep at it.
Peabody September 14, 2008 um 3:57 am
That is one of the things I love about WA. Living in Phoenix for so long I forgot what seasons looked like.
Maria September 14, 2008 um 1:31 pm
I like your idea of slowly moving into fall. One taste of this dessert and might be ok with the change. I am not a fan of the cold but I do love the trees, football, apples,etc.
Parisbreakfasts September 14, 2008 um 2:02 pm
You have answered a long time mystery for me!
The French adoration of the British "Crumble". Of course it’s the same as compote with a bit of crusty delisious crumbs on top.
Henceforth I will not hesitate when I see it on the menu and think, but that’s a British dessert!
Summer..Fall…Spring – I could definitely go for this dessert.
Even for breakfast!
Anonymous September 14, 2008 um 3:32 pm
Swoon. I feel like singin' a love song.. Again!! haha. Tend to happen a lot when i visit your blog. 😛
This dessert is simple yet so refined. Just like you Tartelette. A great way to start the fall. 🙂
Bonbon Oiseau September 14, 2008 um 3:35 pm
! figs figs figs figs! my favorite—this looks so beautiful helen–i can actually taste it!
Mr. French September 14, 2008 um 4:49 pm
oh my dear, I love the photos in this post…I can only imagine how heavenly it must taste…sigh….
Beth September 14, 2008 um 6:10 pm
I adore the fig and caramel combination. It’s an instant classic!
Anonymous September 14, 2008 um 7:13 pm
This would be fantastic for breakfast with thick vanilla yogurt!
Alexa September 14, 2008 um 9:56 pm
I love the changing of the leaves. It sings to my soul. Your dessert reminds of all the rich colors I am now awaiting. I love the compotes and the caramelized figs… A lovely creation.
La Tartine Gourmande September 15, 2008 um 12:29 am
Ah oui, l’automne. Je sui vraiment fan, en fait du changement tout simple de saisons. Ton dessert a l’air delicieux….il faut que tu visites la Nouvelle-Angleterre en automne!
Camille September 15, 2008 um 1:19 am
I used to get so blue when we lived in the desert and the south. Fall is one of my favorite times of year. (I’ll probably say the same thing for each season…I love them all.) Fig season is definitely one to squeeze between summer and fall! The verrine looks wonderful..how could you go wrong with berry compote, apple compote and figs?!
Vera September 15, 2008 um 5:01 am
Helen, I love figs! What a wonderful way to enjoy them!
Kitchen M September 15, 2008 um 7:11 am
Roasted figs are so tasty! Your caramel figs look fantastic!
I’ve got to try them.
Sunshinemom September 15, 2008 um 8:34 am
I love this!! Thanks:)
Anonymous September 16, 2008 um 3:38 pm
Feh. I saw those baby pumpkins in the market yesterday and knew I wasn’t quite ready. I have ONE tree that changes colors on my patio — a small one. It helps me get past the fact that none of the trees around here lose their leaves in winter. They stay green, too. Talk about sad. Lovely figgy dessert, Helen. The caramel just might help me get past my fig…you know. 😉
Jen Yu September 17, 2008 um 8:03 pm
Your food is always so pretty! I love the little bites… but you know that 🙂 Figs with caramel – that is a match. I love that figs are the farewell to summer and greeter of autumn. A nice combo of fruits. I’m sure they were delicious.