Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese
A delicious appetizer dish that is perfect for a cocktail party, or just as a healthy afternoon snack. When shopping at the market, look for large figs, as they work best for stuffing.
- 12 large purple or black figs
- 3 ounces soft goat cheese
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup honey
- Coffee/spice grinder or food processor
- Plastic bag or pastry bag
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with one fig. Slice the stem tip off of the fig to create a flat surface. Stick a sharp paring knife into the center of the flat surface until it is ¾ of the way inside the fig. Twirl the knife clockwise and counter-clockwise to hollow out the center of the fig, pulling out the fig flesh and seeds that stick to the knife. The top of the fig should look like the top of an olive. Repeat for the remaining figs.
Cover a small cookie sheet with foil. Place goat cheese into a small plastic bag (or, if you have a pastry bag, you can use that). Warm the goat cheese by massaging it in your hands for about a minute. If it’s a cold day you may need to warm your hands under hot water before doing this. You want to make sure the cheese is soft and squeezable. Push the cheese to a bottom corner of the bag. Cut the very tip of that corner off the bag with a pair of scissors. Squeeze the cheese through the hole in the corner. Pipe about a teaspoon of cheese into the center of each fig. Place the stuffed figs onto the lined sheet, evenly spaced.
Take the chopped walnuts and pulse them in a spice/coffee grinder or food processor until they become a coarse powder, or “meal.” Don’t over-process or you’ll wind up with walnut butter! Spread the walnut meal into the base of a small skillet. Toast the meal over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the powder becomes fragrant and lightly browned. It will burn if you’re not careful, so keep an eye on this until it’s done.
Immediately pour the toasted walnut powder into a small bowl and mix in ¼ teaspoon sea salt, stir until well blended. Set aside. Warm up the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until it becomes soft and fluid. This should only take about a minute. Pour the honey into a small cup with spout or bottle. Drizzle the honey over the top of the stuffed figs. Sprinkle the salted walnut meal evenly across the top of the figs. Some of the meal will stick to the honey, some will fall onto the tray. Just make sure that all exposed areas of honey are evenly coated with walnut meal.
Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the figs and cheese are heated through. Don’t over-bake them; the fig flesh is delicate and will fall apart if you let it bake too long.
Serve figs warm as an appetizer to a dairy meal. They will be bursting with juice, so make sure you have napkins on hand!