Wine-Poached Figs Stuffed with Almond Ricotta
1 cup whole almonds, with their skins Water for blending ⁄ tsp raw apple cider vinegar Salt, to taste
1 cup red wine (one with a bigger flavour profile) 2 tbsp maple syrup ⁄ tsp salt 2 cups dried Mission figs or dried apricots Cinnamon, for garnish (optional) Finely chopped and toasted walnuts, for garnish (optional)
1. Soak almonds in very hot (not boiling) water for at least hour. Peel the skins o the almonds with your fingers (discard the skins) and place the almonds in a blender or food processor. Add small amounts of water (preferably filtered) and, starting on low speed, finely grind the almonds. Gradually increase the speed, adding small amounts of water to help move the mixture along, until you have a thick mixture that is quite creamy in texture but not watery.
2. Place the mixture into a glass or plastic container and add the apple cider vinegar. Cover the container and place in a warm area of your kitchen to leave at room temperature for up to hours. The raw apple cider vinegar will culture your almond mixture and give it a light tangy flavour.
3. Uncover and drain the "ricotta" through a fine sieve or nut milk bag for £¤ minutes or longer, if needed. Stir the salt into the ricotta. You can add herbs, garlic, lemon juice or other flavours if you like. Cover and refrigerate for up to § days.
4. Place the wine, maple syrup and salt in a heavy cast iron pot and bring to a boil. After § minutes, reduce heat and add the figs. Allow the figs to poach in this mixture over low heat for up to £¤ minutes, checking to ensure that they don’t become too soft or mushy. Remove the figs from the wine mixture and allow to cool and dry. Save the poaching liquid to use in a salad dressing. . To assemble the bites, cut the figs in half and fill with the almond ricotta. I like to sprinkle the tops with a little cinnamon and toasted walnut crumbs. Serve.