Figs In Mavrodaphne With Manouri

Last year I found many recipes for this Greek dessert on the internet. I’ve patiently waited for the winter to come so that I may finally try this recipe.

This post is a long time coming. I haven’t had a sweet fig since I got back from Greece in September of last year.

I love figs. A lot! I love figs so much because they are some of the sweetest fruit one will ever taste. To those that have tasted tree-ripened figs, you’ll know that they are sweet as jam.

To everyone else who hasn’t had the pleasure, I hope you get to taste a fresh, ripe fig. Not one that’s been transported cross-country from California to the eastern seaboard or from the Mediterranean to north and western Europe.

I compare the taste of a fresh fig to the pleasure of a biting into a vine-ripe tomato, a just ripe grape or a perfectly orange, ripe and aromatic mango.

Last summer, I tried looking for recipes that used fresh figs and there aren’t many. I tried a few that would highlight and complement the fig’s natural taste. It’s winter, and those recipes will have to wait until later this summer.

In the meantime, let’s play with dried figs. Here’s an ingredient that captures the epitome of summer. A fig that’s picked at just the right time, dried by the same sun that gave it life, flavour, beauty. To be enjoyed anew during the long winter months until Summer teases us again for just a few months.

I love figs. Greece has lots of figs – free figs! Greece has fig trees the way Canada has maple trees. Neighbors encourage to you pick-off their fig trees before they over-ripen and attract bees and such.

This recipe is said to be offered in many popular tavernas in Athens. Here I have figs poached in a Greek fortified wine (Mavrodaphne) and spices familiar to Greek cuisine and a bed of fresh, mildly savory Manouri cheese.

Figs In Mavrodaphne With Manouri (Συκα και Μαυροδαφνη με μανουρι)

12 dried Calimyrna (Greek) figs
2/3 cup Mavrodaphne wine (or any other fortified, red wine)

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

1/2 cup Greek thyme honey

1 Tbsp cold water

1 tsp. corn starch

mint for garnish

some slices of Manouri cheese
boiling water

  1. In a bowl, place the figs inside and pour enough boiling water to cover the figs. Cover the bowl and allow the figs to soften for an hour.
  2. Discard the water and add the softened figs to a pot along with the wine, cinnamon, cloves and honey.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 30-45 until the figs are plump and tender and the sauce has reduced to half.
  4. Mix your cold water with the corn starch and stir it in to the sauce. You should now have a a sweet, thick, dark syrup. If you need to sweeten it a bit, add another splash of Mavrodaphne.
  5. Arrange your slices of Manouri cheese on a plate and carefully place the figs on top and spoon over some of the syrup over the figs.
  6. Garnish with mint and serve warm.

© 2008 – 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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27 Comments for “Figs In Mavrodaphne With Manouri”

Holler

says:

Sounds good Peter! I haven’t had figs often, but I do like them!
Is Manouri cheese a bit like Halloumi?

Bellini Valli

says:

I have never had the pleasure of having a fresh fig at all, only dried ones. Can you beleive it. When I was in Greece it was the end of May and into June and the wild figs everywhere just had little nubs on them…no figs to be had.

Peter M

says:

Holler, Manouri is not like Halloumi but you could certainly try this with Halloumi.

Manouri is white like a cream cheese, but firmer and without the tartness.

It’s not as salty as Halloumi but there’s some salt. The closest texture I can think of is it’s like a firm, salted combo of ricotta/cream cheese. It’s firm enough to be sliced without crumbling.

Go git some!

Núria

says:

I’m another figs LOVER!!!! I love them anyway, and we do have some recipes with figs (catalan ones). I adore their taste and texture and yes, they are one of the sweetest things on earth!
Here, as I guess you have in Greece too, there’s a variety of fig tree that gives figs in springtime (called brevas) and again during september/october gives another fruit (called higos). The fall ones are tastier than the former.
Soooooo beautiful pictures, Peter!

Proud Italian Cook

says:

Peter your photos are gorgeous!! I’m a lover of figs too! I’ll have to look for that Manouri cheese, I never tried that. Out here I’m able to get this beautiful fig spread that I warm up and spread all over a warmed Brie cheese. Figs and cheese, always a hit!

bigfish_chin

says:

Hi,
Thanks for dropping my blog!Appreciated very much!
Fresh figs ~ So special!
Never try this before… wondering how is it actually taste like?

Maryann

says:

I’m a fresh fig fanatic. There. I said it.
Dried figs, especially the way you made them, could possibly take a close second :)
“Could I put them over vanilla gelato?”, she asked with an evil grin.

Peter M

says:

Nuria,

Greece has a similar growing pattern for figs, love them!

Proud Italian, I think Ricotta Silata (firm) is similar.

Maryann, I’ve had paoched figs kinda like this served in restaurants like a parfait, with French Vanilla Ice cream…(evil grin),:)

Pam

says:

Peter, this makes me very sad. I have never had a fresh fig. Not even a not-so-fresh fig from California. I just can’t find them here.

sher

says:

Wonderful pictures–it looks like something they would serve at The French Laundry. We have fig trees growing on the green belt near our home. People come and pick them when they’re ripe (the squirrels love them too). But, why wait? Dried figs are waiting for us to make this wonderful dish! :):)

Laurie Constantino

says:

Absolutely gorgeous Peter. Count me as yet another figaholic. And I’m with Maryann, just a little vanilla gelato please! I also love fresh figs and feta, an addictively good combination.

Ivy

says:

Peter I love fresh figs and figs spoon sweet is my favourite. I am not so fond of dried figs but in the picture they look as if they are fresh and I think I shall give them a second chance and try them.

Meghan

says:

My sicilian family had fig trees in the backyard growing up, and I used to love eating them. We used them in so many things.

When we bought our first house this April, much to our delight, a fig tree on the border of our property. I hate to say it… but any branches on “my side” became free for my picking. My neighbor didnt pick one fig and hasn’t pruned the tree once. I’m thinking of negotiating my caring for the tree, if I can harvest it’s fruit.

What a nice recipe!

culinography

says:

I just had my first fresh fig about a year ago… how did I make it so long without these little lovelies?

And this? This looks amazing. The last photo stopped me in my tracks, Peter!

Mansi Desai

says:

These figs look amazing!! I really like dyour sauce…kind of sweet and spicy:) nice presentation too:)

winedeb

says:

Picture perfect Peter!
I just started “getting into” figs last year when I was able to get my hands on some fresh ones. But anything cooked with wine gets my attention!

Mango Power Girl

says:

These figs look so beautiful that I want to pick one out my screen and eat it! The sauce sounds really delicious too.

Antonia

says:

What a great recipe – I adore figs both in desserts or paired with parma ham for a starter. I’m not familiar with that cheese – I wondered how it might be with ricotta? I’ll have to wait until the summer when I can go and raid my sister’s fig tree!

Mary Dailey

says:

Let’s take this to another level. Put one of these on a big old homemade biscuit, cheese and all!!!!