Have you ever had a fresh fig? I had only tried a couple here or there until recently, when a few of my neighbors with fig trees shared, a lot! They are excellent fresh, but I have always wanted to try stuffing them. Let me tell you, you have to try this! I played around with it until I found a combination I loved, and hope you will too!
Fresh Totato Fig - look for ones free of brown spots (other kinds of figs work as well)
I used extra sharp, aged white cheddar, by Private Selection, conveniently sliced in 1/3 oz little squares, perfect! - other options include goat cheese, blue cheese, ricotta, or other tangy cheeses, ones you can use a little bit of, but get big flavor!
The inside of the fig, if you haven't seen one before
First, get the glaze going. Whisk the following ingredients together (enough for 8-10 figs), and let heat over medium low heat while you stuff and wrap the figs. Half the glaze will be spooned over top of the figs before cooking, and the other half will be poured over when the figs are done cooking.
1/4 cup balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla
Whisk Balsamic with honey and vanilla in a small saucepan
Cut a X in the top of the fig, do not go more than half way down the fig
Cut up your cheese slices in little pieces and stuff into the four sides, try not to let the sides rip past half way down the fig.
Wrap in Bacon, or try turkey bacon! When using bacon, look for lean, center cut strips to lessen the fat. Depending on the size of your fig, you can sometimes get away with using half a slice of bacon, again, less fat! Secure with toothpicks, I used two for each fig. You want the bacon covering the opening in the fig to keep the cheese in!
Depending on how many you want to make, pick a pan that keeps them nestled close together. Here is a cute mini bread pan that fit 2 perfectly. If you want to make 8-10, you can do a a bigger bread pan, or a meat loaf pan. If you have a meat loaf pan, it is a perfect option, because the fat can drip down below! Use half your glaze to cover the figs before baking.
Bake the figs, uncovered for 13-15 min in a 450 degree oven, or until your bacon is crispy, and fig is soft. Pour remaining Balsamic glaze over the cooked figs.
Yummy fig cut open...ENJOY!
This makes a tasty appetizer and is pretty impressive. They are large, most people would only need 1-2. Using 1 slice center cut bacon, 1 fig, 1/3 oz cheese, and 1 Tbsp sauce, each fig would contain 90 calories, not too bad, and that is with real cheese and bacon! :)