Port-baked figs, cinnamon cake, maple jelly & fig-leaf ice-cream

Port-baked figs, cinnamon cake, maple jelly & fig-leaf ice-cream

Chris Middleton

Figs are such a sensual fruit in the way they look and feel in the mouth. This is a great autumnal dessert. You’ll be surprised at the flavour that comes out of the fig leaf.


Quantity Ingredient
Fig-leaf ice-cream, to serve

Maple jelly

Quantity Ingredient
250ml maple syrup
5 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water

Cinnamon cake

Quantity Ingredient
150g butter
180g honey
110g dark brown sugar
260g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Port-baked figs

Quantity Ingredient
100ml port
100ml red wine
2 tablespoons honey
55g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
6 ripe figs, top and bottom trimmed, the top of each fig lightly scored

Crisp filo garnish

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 sheets filo pastry
100ml melted butter


  1. For the maple jelly

    Spray some takeaway containers with cooking oil spray (or use a paper towel dipped in oil), then wipe out with paper towel.
  2. Heat the maple syrup and 250 ml water over low heat until the maple syrup has dissolved. Add the gelatine leaves, whisking to dissolve.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve into the containers. Cover and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours; the jelly will keep for several days.
  4. For the cinnamon cake

    Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a loaf (bar) tin with baking paper.
  5. Combine the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and heat slowly until a smooth caramel forms. Leave to cool.
  6. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, then the cooled caramel. Fold together until a smooth batter forms. Pour into the loaf tin and smooth the top with a palette knife.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature.
  8. Using a serrated knife, cut off the crusts, then cut the cake into 2 cm cubes. Store at room temperature in between sheets of baking paper in dry airtight containers; the cake can be made a day ahead.
  9. For the baked figs

    Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine the port, wine, honey, sugar and vanilla seeds in a saucepan with 100 ml water. Slowly bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
  10. Place the figs in a deep-sided non-stick baking tray. Pour enough of the warm port mixture into the baking tray to reach one-quarter of the way up the figs. Roll the figs in the liquid, then stand them upright. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 10 minutes, or until the figs are just cooked.
  11. Let the figs sit in the liquid for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and leave the figs in the tray to cool to room temperature.
  12. Pour 300 ml of the fig liquid into a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup consistency, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. The syrup will be a lot thicker when it cools, so add a little more liquid from the tray if it is too thick once cooled.
  13. For the crisp filo garnish

    Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a tray with baking paper.
  14. Mix the icing sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
  15. Lay one sheet of filo pastry on a bench and, using a pastry brush, completely cover the filo with melted butter. Gently dust the filo with the combined sugar and cinnamon using a fine sieve. Place a second and third sheet of filo over the first, repeating the brushing and dusting process between each layer. Cut the filo into triangles about 3 cm long. Place the triangles onto the baking tray, top with another sheet of baking paper and then place a second baking tray on top to keep them flat while baking. Bake for 8–10 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature.
  16. To serve

    Warm the figs in the oven. Arrange some cake cubes along one side of each plate. Slice each fig in half, then evenly space them among the cake cubes.
  17. Use a teaspoon to place little ‘gems’ of the maple jelly among the cake cubes. Rest the filo garnish on top. Scoop a generous scoop of ice-cream onto each plate, drizzle with the fig syrup and serve.
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