FIGS WITH GOAT CHEESE, PISTACHIOS AND MINT
■ 24 unsalted shelled pistachios
■ 12 dried black Mission figs, stemmed
■ 4 oz (115 g) soft goat cheese (chèvre), at room temperature (may substitute ricotta)
■ 2 to 4 tsp (10 to 20 ml) milk ( low-fat or whole)
■ 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) honey
■ 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fresh orange juice
■ 1 pinch finely grated orange zest
■ 1 pinch kosher salt
■ 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh mint leaves
1. In a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 3-5 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small dish to cool.
3. Cut each fig in half lengthwise. Press the backside of a small spoon into the cut side of each fig piece to form a shallow cup. Arrange the fig pieces on a serving dish, cut side up.
4. In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese with a fork until creamy, adding the milk, a little at a time, as needed, until smooth and dollop-able. In another small bowl, stir together the honey, orange juice and zest. (If not serving right away, refrigerate until needed.)
5. Using a small spoon or piping bag with a tip snipped off, fill each fig half with the goat cheese mixture. If not serving right away, refrigerate until needed.
Otherwise top each fig piece with a pistachio, drizzle with the honey-orange mixture and sprinkle with the salt and the mint.
Note: The figs can be stuffed with the goat cheese mixture up to one day in advance, then covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. The honey drizzle can be made up to one day in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Let both components return to room temperature before topping and serving.