Fig off

I’ve moved around a lot as an adult.  California, New England, New York, the South.  But food-wise, a little piece of my palate will always belong to the five years I spent in Cleveland, Ohio, and a little restaurant called The Flying Fig.

Barely 24 years old, I was already weary of the trials of living in a big city when I moved from Los Angeles to Cleveland.  They were, unequivocally, white-girl problems, and specifically the problems of a white girl who spends way too much money on food and drink and silly nightlife shenanigans.

“Oh, L.A. is awesome, but it’s so hard to get reservations anywhere,” I would complain while waiting in line behind one velvet rope or another.

My 23-year-old self is kind of embarrassing, actually.

Anyway.  I moved to Cleveland along with the (future) hubs and we found ourselves perched atop a seemingly untapped foodie pyramid.  The hottest restaurants? You could actually get reservations at them.  And a dinner there wouldn’t empty your bank account.  No, you probably weren’t going to dine alongside Elizabeth Berkley*, but there was indeed excellent food to be had in Ohio.

Our first major restaurant discovery was The Flying Fig.

Their braised short rib is still one of my top-five favorite meals.  Ever.  I’m convinced that this dish could go up against any restaurant in New York or L.A. and kick ass.

And their house-made Fig Ice Cream with Molten Chocolate Cake is still an often-discussed dessert in our household.

This weekend, with a storm raging outside and a counter full of ripe, in-season figs, I tried to replicate it.

Molten Chocolate Cake is actually really easy: I used this recipe from Food & Wine.

A frozen fig dessert is slightly more complicated, but I found a recipe that sounded like a winner at My Best Day Ever.  I converted it and halved it, so I’m going to repeat my version here:

Burnt Fig Semi-Freddo

Serves 4-6

  • One green-basket-full of ripe figs – about 8-10 – finely chopped
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 C superfine (castor) sugar
  • 1/2 C cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 1.5 TBSP cream, unwhipped
  • 1 TSP fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high.  Add figs and cook until sticky residue steaks across pan, about 2 minutes.  Add brown sugar and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until jam-like, about 20 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and set pan aside to cool.  Once slightly cooled, stir in 1.5 TBSP of unwhipped cream.  Cool mixture to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whip egg yolks with a hand mixer until thick and pale yellow.  Add superfine sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip the mixture.

Carefully fold whipped cream in to egg mixture, taking care not to lose volume.  Fold in fig mixture.  Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

The whole thing together – warm molten cake with chilled fig semi-freddo – was absolutely awesome.  As good as the Flying Fig verion?  Well…almost.

Some running stats to end the week:

I guess I did okay with everything this week except strength training….um, story of my (running) life.  HEAT studios, I will see you this week!

*Jesse Spano favored my neighborhood sushi joint in Westwood.  Her signed Showgirls poster was on the wall and she was always there when we went there.  Probably the closest brush with fame I’ll ever have….

14 responses to “Fig off

  1. Frozen fig ice cream sounds delicious! I would be so excited and so scared! if I were dining next to Elizabeth Berkley.

  2. I’m going to be honest, I spent two nights in Cleveland while traveling and thought it was a total food wasteland. Definitely no fig ice cream or chocolate cake in sight. You’ll have to tell me where to look for a good restaurant so the next time we pass through I’m not dining on seafood nachos with pineapple (bizzare) or McDonalds.

  3. I don’t know what you’re talking about with that “closest” brush with fame. That IS a brush with fame. I’d be freaking out. Or at least… soo… excited….. sooo… EXCITED!

  4. It’s okay.. My 23 y/o self is kind of embarassing too.

    & Molten Chocolate Cake? Sounds delicious.

  5. oooh, did you ever talk to Jessie Spano? That is an excellent celebrity sighting.

    I am so excited for fig season, I love them so much. That dessert looks extremely delicious, and I think you made a pizza a while back with figs that I really want to make soon!

  6. If I dined next to Jesse Spano I would have no other choice than to sing “I’M SO EXCITEDDDD! I’M SOOO EXCITED! I’m SO…SCARED!”

    Which I’m sure she’s never heard before. Ever.

  7. Jessie Spano is a legit celebrity sighting. I got nothin on that front, unless you count a former Philadelphia Eagle run in at a bar in Manayunk. Which I really don’t.

  8. Strength training is all I have anymore. I look like Cartman when he started taking the Weight Gain 4000.

    Also, you should put some raisins on that cake. =P

  9. Wow, I’m impressed- that semi freddo looks amazing! Glad you guys survived the storm, by the way!

  10. I’m really bad at recognizing celebrities. I sat next to Jason Sudeikis and January Jones at a Hollywood Bowl show and didn’t recognize them.

  11. You made a semi-freddo!? I’m so freaking impressed right now.

  12. Ice cream, figs, chocolate cake… What’s not to love? :) looks like your replication was a success!