If I had to pick a favorite dessert from this book, this would be it: a rich, milky pudding infused with butterscotchy dried figs. It may also be the easiest dessert you’ll ever make. Just soak, drain, and chop the figs, add them to warm milk, and let the pudding set. That’s it. Use the plumpest dried figs you can find. All the better if your figs are organic or naturally dried, without sulfites or other preservatives. Stick with yellow or green figs; Black Mission figs will produce a gray pudding. For a richer, thicker pudding, use all cream or substitute half-and-half for the milk. The pudding must cool and set for at least 6 hours; the longer, the better. I prefer to divide it among individual serving bowls or cups, but you can make it in one large bowl. — Robyn Eckhardt, author of Istanbul & Beyond
- 22 large, plump dried yellow or green figs (about 1 1/4 pounds; preferably organic or naturally processed)
- 2 Cups
- 2 Cups heavy cream
- Finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, for serving
Place the figs in a medium bowl and pour over hot water to cover. Set the figs aside to soften — from 5 minutes if your figs are very moist, to 20 if your figs are leathery.
Drain the figs and blot dry with a paper towel. Remove the stems from the figs and chop the figs, or process them to a rough purée in a food processor (do not reduce them to a paste). Set aside.
Pour the milk and/or half-and-half and the heavy cream into a 3-quart saucepan, set over low heat, and stir the mixture slowly as it heats. When small bubbles begin to appear around the edges, remove from the heat; do not let boil.
Add the puréed figs to the pan and stir with a spoon or spatula, pressing on them to break them up, and mix them with the milk and cream.
Divide the mixture among six 1-cup serving dishes, making sure that each dish gets some of the fig pieces, which will have sunk to the bottom of the pan. Or pour the mixture into one large bowl. Let cool to room temperature, 2 hours or so, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 more hours.
Serve the pudding cold, topped with chopped nuts.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Istanbul & Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017)