Figs with Vanilla Rum and Mascarpone Filling

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Honest to goodness, if summer sailed off into the sunset, waving from the forecastle deck of Captain Morgan’s finest vessel—then you can bet your booty I would need this treat to get over it.

Vanilla Rum makes everything alright, especially when whipped into a creamy mound of mascarpone and honey. Put that all into a fresh fig and you my friend are biting into what I call “nature’s cake.”

This quick recipe was purely accidental. I just got back from popping into the wine shop with my four year old daughter. She spotted a life size Captain Morgan statue and yelled out “Mommy look! It’s Captain Hook!” Cashiers and customers from aisles one through seven had a good laugh. When I explained it was Captain Morgan, my daughter concluded that he must be Hook’s brother.

I love her.

We left the store smiling—our silly faces sun-kissed by an orange sorbet colored sky. If only we had just one more month of summer. This was our first year visiting Italy in very early spring. No complaints. But as ridiculous as it may sound, summer isn’t summer without admiring the Eolie Islands off the balcony, wading in crystal blue water and eating fresh figs.

Luckily I happened to have a fantastic batch at home, as well as my usual emergency mascarpone and turkish honey. Coincidentally I spotted a bottle of vanilla rum in the liquor cabinet. A splash of this, a few tablespoons of that, a few extra squeezes for good measure and “eccola qui”…a short and sweet farewell to summer indeed: Figs with Vanilla Rum and Mascarpone filling!

Just so you know, I was feeling particularly naughty that day, so I decided to add vanilla rum to the balsamic honey drizzle. Why not? And here’s a special tip on balsamic vinegar: Buy the good stuff.  A slowly aged bottle, with a higher concentration of grape must makes for a much denser, more flavorful experience.

So how do you find the right balsamic vinegar?

Look for brands with the following labels: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Emilia).  Imitation balsamic vinegars are usually made with wine vinegar as opposed to grape must and also include artificial sweeteners like caramel—a poor attempt at adding flavor and complexity to the final product. So steer clear of bottles labeled, Aceto Balsamico di Modena (Balsamic Vinegar of Modena).

WARNING:  With the good, comes the bad.  Since this recipe takes up to 15 minutes flat, some people have reported smiling like a fool. Tasting the final product may cause unintended eye bulging, odd bursts of laughter, hyena-type cackles and/or inappropriate moaning. Savor responsibly. 😉
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For Founder and Food Blogger, Jo Ann Tartaglia, there is more to food than what we see on our plates. "It not only feeds the body, but nourishes the soul ...

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