Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I is for... Idiazabal with incir tatlisi

Idiazabal is semi-firm unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region of Spain. The cheese has a delicious buttery flavour and a slight smokiness. It's quite difficult to find but Richard managed to get his hands on some at Iberica on Great Portland Street. Fruit with cheese is obviously a classic but the incir tatlisi worked particularly well served alongside this cheese. I adapted a recipe I found in Elisabeth Luard's Saffron & Sunshine

Incir tatlisi
Turkish stuffed figs with bayleaves in rosewater syrup
125g/ 5oz dried figs
1 tea bag
1/2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 tbsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp chopped pistachios
75ml/ 2.5 fl. oz rosewater
1 tbsp runny honey
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves

Place the figs and the tea bag in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover them. Leave the tea bag in for a few minutes before fishing it out. Soak the figs in the tea for a couple of hours and drain, reserving the tea. Boil the tea, rosewater, honey, citrus zest and bay leaves in a saucepan and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes to create a syrup.

Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C Fan)

Mix the chopped nuts together. Make a slit in the base of each fig and stuff each fruit until it is firmly full of the chopped nuts. Arrange the figs in an oven-proof dish, stalks pointing up, and strain the hot syrup over them. Pop the figs in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the figs are plump and the syrup is dark and silky. You can eat them hot with ice cream if you like, but leave them to cool before serving with Idiazabal. 

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