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    Roast Figs with Pistachio Parfait and Chocolate Sauce

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    Roast Figs with Pistachio Parfait and Chocolate Sauce

    Sheer indulgence: figs, nuts and chocolate are a classic confectioner's combination - doubly delicious when the fruit is fresh. The basis for the parfait is a soft Italian meringue. This holds its shape even as it melts and has a delightfully chewy texture.

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes plus 5 hours freezing
    • Cooking time: 10 minutes
    • Total time: 5 hours 50 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • For the figs
    • 6-8 Turkish black figs
    • 100g Waitrose Continental Plain Chocolate
    • For the parfait
    • 3 medium egg whites
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 400ml Waitrose Whipping Cream, whisked until firm
    • 50g roasted unsalteded pistachio nuts

    Method

    1. To make the parfait, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk the egg whites with the caster sugar for 15-20 minutes, using an electric mixer, until you have a thick, shiny meringue that just holds its shape.
    2. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool. Fold in the whipped cream, mixing thoroughly. Then add the nuts, reserving a spoonful. Spoon the mixture into a metal container, cover with clingfilm and freeze for 4-5 hours, until firm.
    3. Remove the parfait from the freezer about 20 minutes before you are ready to serve. At the same time, place six sundae glasses or sturdy wine glasses in the freezer to chill.
    4. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8. Arrange the figs, stalks up, on a non-stick baking sheet and roast for 6-10 minutes, until the skin begins to crack and ooze golden juice.
    5. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water, beating in 1-2 tbsp hot water to make a smooth sauce.
    6. To serve, spoon the parfait into the chilled glasses. Top each portion with a roast fig, trickle with the chocolate sauce and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. The parfait can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
    7. Because this dish contains uncooked egg, it is not suitable for the very young, pregnant women, the elderly or those whose immune systems are weak.

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    Cook's tips

    Perfect figs should be plump with no signs of shrinking.

    To test for ripeness, cradle the fruit gently in the palm of the hand and squeeze it very gently: the flesh should be slightly yielding. A slight cracking and a few drops of sticky moisture on the base indicate the fruit was well on the way to ripeness when picked.

    To store, keep figs in the salad compartment of the fridge for no more than four days. But remember to bring them up to room temperature before serving.

    Variation

    Try figs as a starter with thin curls of Parma ham or with a salad of feta cheese and raw fennel dressed with extra virgin olive oil. The fennel echoes the liquorice flavour of the fig. Alternatively, quarter the figs, wrap them in pancetta and grill for 3-4 minutes.

    As a dessert, try serving figs with honey, Waitrose Virtually Fat Free Fromage Frais and toasted Waitrose Pine Nuts or as part of a fresh fruit salad with peeled, sliced oranges and pomegranate seeds.

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