Chilled Fig Soup
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus
Cooking time: 15 minutes
16 small figs, preferably black
a few drops of vanilla essence
5 cm (2 inch) piece of cinnamon stick
2 strips of orange rind
250 ml (8 fl oz) water
375 ml (13 fl oz) red wine
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Set aside 4 of the figs. Place the other
figs in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to the
boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat,
cover and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
Add the vanilla essence, cinnamon stick
and orange rind to the soup. Process the soup in a blender or food
processor, in batches if necessary. Strain through a sieve and return
to the pan.
Add the reserved figs to the saucepan
with the soup, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for
5-7 minutes until tender, turning the figs over after 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the poached figs and soup to a bowl, taste and add more honey
or lemon juice if required. Cool, cover and chill thoroughly.
Just before serving, remove the figs with
a slotted spoon and cut each one into wedges. Ladle the soup into
chilled bowls and garnish with the fig wedges. Serve with the cattucini
biscuits and a spoonful of mascarpone cheese.