Friday, September 12, 2008

Better than Nutella: Figs Stuffed with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream

Chocolate Hazelnut Stuffed Figs

Nutella is catnip for humans. I have eaten more jars of the stuff in my life than I care to admit. It was a staple in our house when I was growing up. In my teens, I would stop at the boulangerie du coin (corner bakery) for fresh, hot out of the oven, pain brioche that we would lather with thick layers of artery-clogging hazelnut chocolatey goodness. Ah, the good old days...

When we moved out of our first house, my husband and I were packing boxes at 3 A.M. in anticipation of the moving van's morning arrival. We came across a jar of Nutella while packing the pantry. It looked so innocent in the bare cupboard. We unpacked several boxes to find a spoon, a spatula--anything that could act as delivery device. It was heaven in a jar. Nutella, which I had always loved, had never tasted so good. Frankly, it never did again--though my kids would beg to differ.

I know this little story doesn't explain how my version of Nutella ended up in the figs. You see, once I decided to make the cream I still needed a delivery device for it and figs are so pretty right now-- like little green or purple baskets waiting to be filled with homemade chocolate hazelnut cream...

Chocolate Hazelnut Fig Platter

Figs Stuffed with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream (makes 24)
If your figs are not ripe or sweet enough, simmer them in 1 cup of sugar diluted with 4 cups of water for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the sugar mixture is boiling before you introduce the figs and lower to a simmer. When they are ready, drain well and proceed as per recipe.

24 ripe fresh figs
1/2 cup shelled hazelnuts
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon GF vanilla extrat
3.5 oz of good quality dark chocolate
4oz mascarpone italian cream cheese
whipped cream, for decoration
12 hazelnuts, spilt into 24 halves
Dark chocolate curls, for decoration (optional)
Unsweetened chocolate powder, for decoration

With a pairing knife, cut the top off each fig and cut a X to about 1/3 from the bottom creating an opening for the filling. Gently pry the opening open.
Put the hazelnuts, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream in a mini food processor and pulse until smooth paste forms.
In a small bowl place the dark chocolate and the remainder of the heavy cream and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. Continue microwaving and stirring in 10 second increments until completely melted and smooth.
Add melted chocolate to hazelnut mixture, mascarpone cream cheese and process until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Transfer chocolate to a piping bag or use a freezer bag and clip the corner. Carefully, pipe the chocolate mixture generously into each fig. Crown each one with a dollop of whipped cream, a hazelnut half and a chocolate curl (can be created by carefully passing a vegetable peeler knife on the edge of a cold chocolate bar). Then finish by sprinkling the platter with some unsweetened chocolate powder (I like to use a small handheld mesh strainer, tapping the sides gently to disperse the chocolate). Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Fig

And one more fig recipe for you to enjoy...
Oat Fig Bars


VeggieGirl said...

That HAS to be one of the most indulgent, luscious treats I've ever seen, oh my goodness. YUM!

Elra said...

Your hazelnut chocolate cream indeed better then nutella, I just know it. Because? First, the ingredients were fresh, no preservatives, no chemical and I am convince that you used the beast quality chocolate. Second, fig! Can't go wrong with fig! Well done Alexa!

Passionate About Baking said...

I agree doubt about it...your cream is better & the figs look like a delcious mouthful.Looks like fig season as there are plenty of figs popping up across blogs...this is so much fun. I can just sit here & drool. We don't get fresh figs here where I live. *SIGH*

maybelle's mom said...

How delicious and fancy.

pietra said...

Well done!! Bravo.

Brilynn said...

That looks awesome!
And there are so many other uses for that chocolate hazelnut cream, it sounds delicious!

Katie said...

I tried figs once in my life, and I wasn't too fond of them. This recipe has convinced me to give them another try!

Mary Ann said...

Those figs look amazing. The things you do with food... my goodness! What a great idea.

Leonor de Sousa Bastos said...

Your figs are amazing!! The pairing with the chocolate hazelnut cream must be wonderful...



Alexa said...

It is quite the treat. I'm glad you liked it.

There is such an awareness nowadays of what is being added to our convenience foods. It has fueled how much I make from scratch.

You can use other fruits as an alternate... I think berries would be lovely or poached pears.

Maybelle's Mom and Pietra,
Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed the post.

It's great on fresh bread as a quick snack.

I am so glad... Let me know if it won you over. ;-)

Mary Ann,
Thanks! I'm happy you liked this idea.

Thank you for your nice comment.

Tartelette said...

Figs are in the air...I had them on the mind too. Love your version of Nutella! Well done!

Jude said...

That's amazing.. Great photos and idea. I have a -controlled- addiction to nutella so this is right up my alley.

Rachel said...

Oh my. These look delicious.

Dhanggit said...

These are beautiful and sinful! What a fantastic idea to stuff figs with hazelnut and chocos! Hmmmm my stomach is rumbling now

Dee said...

Gotta tell you that I was initially indignant - how could anything be better than Nutella? - then I read the ingredient list. Now there's a puddle of drool threatening to short out the computer.

Gorgeous photos, too.

LyB said...

Such a beautiful dessert! Very chic, and yet approachable. And those oat fig bars look fabulous too. :)

CECIL said...

I truly have never seen such beautiful presentation of figs! So lovely.

bee said...

figs, hazelnut, chocolate. spectacular flavours and pictures.

Alexa said...

Your version was yummy.

"controlled" I am impressed...

I am glad you liked them.

I loved what you did with your batch of figs... What a beautiful tart!

Oh, no... I hope your computer has a warranty for drool damage. :-)

It was easy... Thanks for your nice comment.

I appreciate your kind comment. I love fruit based dessert. This one was especially fun to put together.

Thank you.:-)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Fig and chocolate heaven!

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