Some fruits oc­cupy that de­li­cious ter­ri­tory strad­dling sweet and savoury—figs are one of the finest ex­am­ples. They’re meaty and sweet; tasty when eaten raw out of hand, but rich when roasted. And when you team them up with the fatty good­ness of ba­con, wal­nuts and sesame, each bite hits all the right umami notes. Try these be­fore or even af­ter din­ner; add a dol­lop of crème fraîche or yo­gurt and serve them at brunch. To make these veg­e­tar­ian, sim­ply use tofu “ba­con” in­stead.

3 tbsp (45 mL) but­ter, di­vided, plus a lit­tle more for greas­ing the dish

2 slices of ba­con, coarsely chopped

1 small shal­lot, coarsely chopped

1 cup (250 mL) raw, un­salted wal­nut pieces 2 tbsp (30 mL) tahini

¼ tsp (1 mL) sea salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) pep­per

20 small figs—black mis­sion figs are about the right size

⅓ cup (80 mL) maple syrup

1 Pre­heat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2 Into a skil­let over medium heat, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the but­ter, the ba­con and shal­lot; fry and stir of­ten un­til the ba­con and shal­lot are soft­ened and be­gin­ning to brown at the edges—about 3 min­utes.

3 To the pan of ba­con, add the wal­nuts; stir to com­bine and don’t walk away, nuts can burn in a flash. Fry for an­other 3 min­utes; re­move from heat and trans­fer to the bowl of a food pro­ces­sor along with the tahini, salt and pep­per. Pulse un­til it forms a well-com­bined crum­ble. Set aside.

4 Mean­while, lightly but­ter or spray with non­stick bak­ing spray an oven­proof dish big enough to hold all the figs; set aside.

5 Us­ing a very sharp small knife, cut a deep X into the tops or stem ends of each washed fig. Don’t cut all the way to the base; go about two-thirds the way down. Snip off the hard stem with a pair of scis­sors; dis­card. They’ll look like suc­cu­lent, four-petaled flow­ers. Set the figs into the greased dish; set aside.

6 Gently pull the fig “petals” apart just enough to stuff some of the fill­ing in­side the fig “flower.” Stuff each fig with enough crum­ble to fill it up to the top—should be about 1 tbsp (15 mL) each.

7 In a small saucepan or mi­crowave­able cup, melt the re­main­ing 2 tbsp (30 mL) of but­ter with the maple syrup. Driz­zle each fig with a few drops of the maple syrup and but­ter— about ½ tsp (2 mL) each.

8 Pop into the oven and bake for about 10 min­utes or un­til slightly soft but not col­lapsed and a lit­tle golden in places. Serve warm or at room tem­per­a­ture, but not cold.

Makes 20 figs, 2 cups (500 mL) of fill­ing; fig­ure on 2 to 3 per per­son

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