Chocolate Covered Figs

Fichi al cioccolato (Chocolate Covered Figs)

In Calabria, dessert, Sicilia, snack by Frank17 Comments

Here’s a sweet that’s so simple you could almost describe it as a non-recipe: Chocolate Covered Figs—dried figs stuffed with almonds and dipped in dark chocolate. It’s a combination that was truly meant to be, in my opinion far more appealing than the ever-popular strawberries in chocolate. The intense, concentrated flavor of dried figs really stands up to the intense flavor of the dark chocolate. The combination is so intense, in fact, that just one or two figs—especially if you’re using large Mediterranean figs—will be more than enough as a dessert or sweet snack.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 12-16 dried figs
  • 12-16 almonds
  • 150g (5 oz) bitter-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

Optional:

  • A few cloves, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • Candied citron or orange peel
  • Rum, brandy, vermouth or other liqueur
  • Powdered sugar or ground hazelnuts for topping

Directions

Cut a large, horizontal slit in the sides of each fig and insert an almond, along with a bit of clove and candied fruit if using. Close the fig back up around the almond. When you’re done with all your figs, place them on a baking tray and place in a warm oven.

Now melt your chocolate in a double-boiler over gentle heat; the water in the bottom half should just barely simmer. If you don’t have a proper double-boiler, you can make do by setting a round bowl inside a saucepan half-full with simmering water. Stir gently until the chocolate has just melted and is perfectly smooth. Turn the heat down to a minimum. (If you using a liqueur, add a splash to the pan first, let it heat up and then add the chocolate.)

Remove the figs from the oven and dip them, one by one, in the melted chocolate. You can either cover them entirely or, if you’re using larger figs with their stems still attached (see Notes), you can leave the stems uncovered. (If you’re au fait with chopsticks, they are ideal for the job.) If using the ground hazelnuts, sprinkle them on top of the figs while the chocolate is still quite liquid so they stick.

Let the Chocolate Covered Figs cool completely on a baking tray lined with wax paper, at least 1-2 hours, until the chocolate has solidified again. If you’re using the powdered sugar, dust the figs just before serving.

Chocolate Covered Figs

 

Notes on Chocolate Covered Figs

Just about any type of dried fig will do for making Chocolate Covered Figs. I’ve tried both the smaller, moist Mission figs from California and the larger Turkish figs with their stems still on. Both are delicious but I found the larger figs produced a better balance between fig and chocolate. They also carry more filling, which is convenient if you want to add the optional candied fruit.

The chocolate should be the intensely flavored, dark, bitter-sweet kind, not milk chocolate. Obviously, the better the chocolate, the better your Chocolate Covered Figs will be. The chocolate should be cut or broken into small pieces, so it will melt readily and evenly. In the US, packets of chocolate chips for baking cookies are very convenient indeed.

The only slightly tricky part of making Chocolate Covered Figs is melting the chocolate. If it’s exposed to even a little too much heat, chocolate will turn grainy and, if it gets any hotter, it will ‘seize’, and the cocoa will separate from the fat and cluster into globs. The taste will still be quite fine, but it is quite hard to work with and none too attractive. (Trust me, I know from experience…) But you’ll have no worries if you use a double-boiler, either a proper one you can buy in a cookware store or a make-shift one you can improvise by setting a round bowl on top of a saucepan, over gently simmering water. Perfectly melted chocolate is a beautiful thing, smooth and glistening.

You can add a bit of extra flavor to your chocolate by adding a splash of rum, brandy, vermouth or other liqueur. If you do, however, heat it gently in the double-boiler before adding the chocolate; adding cold liquid to chocolate can cause it to seize up.

Almonds are the most common filling for Chocolate Covered Figs, although other nuts, especially walnuts, will do nicely. Older, more traditional recipes have you add ground cloves and candied fruits. The latter can be very hard to find in your average supermarket. You can find them in well-stocked Italian delis or in Middle Eastern food shops or online.

Fichi al cioccolato-6

Fichi al cioccolato (Figs Dipped in Chocolate)

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Serves 4-6

Fichi al cioccolato (Figs Dipped in Chocolate)

Ingredients

  • 12-16 dried figs
  • 12-16 almonds
  • 150g (5 oz) bitter-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • Optional:
  • A few cloves, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • Candied citron or orange peel
  • Rum, brandy, vermouth or other liqueur
  • Powdered sugar or ground hazelnuts for topping

Instructions

  1. Cut a large, horizontal slit in the sides of each fig and insert an almond, along with a bit of clove and candied fruit if using. Close the fig back up around the almond. When you're done with all your figs, place them on a baking tray and place in a warm oven.
  2. Now melt your chocolate in a double-boiler over gentle heat; the water in the bottom half should just barely simmer. If you don't have a proper double-boiler, you can make do by setting a round bowl inside a saucepan half-full with simmering water. Stir gently until the chocolate has just melted and is perfectly smooth. Turn the heat down to a minimum. (If you using a liqueur, add a splash to the pan first, let it heat up and then add the chocolate.)
  3. Remove the figs from the oven and dip them, one by one, in the melted chocolate. You can either cover them entirely or, if you're using larger figs with their stems still attached (see Notes), you can leave the stems uncovered. If you're au fait with chopsticks, they are ideal for the job. If using the ground hazelnuts, sprinkle them on top of the figs while the chocolate is still quite liquid.
  4. Let the chocolate-covered figs cool completely on a baking tray lined with wax paper, at least 1-2 hours, until the chocolate has solidified again. If you're using the powdered sugar, dust the figs just before serving.
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Comments

    1. Author

      Figs do have trace amounts of Vitamin C, about 1% of the daily value. Neither chocolate nor almonds have any.

  1. What a great idea Frank. I have bought chocolate covered figs but never thought to make them. Duh! I love the idea of stuffing an almond inside too.

  2. Adri is right….pretty sexy too! So…Frank, I now know what to do with the new crop dried figs that were supposed to be at the shop for Christmas but didn’t show up until after…I bought some anyway and was just thinking…hmmm…what can I make with them…I now know…love dark chocolate dipped things from candied orange peel to crystallized ginger…wow and thanks! I am loving this a lot…can you tell?

  3. What a wonderful treat! So simple, and yet truly elegant. Pretty sexy too, if I do say so myself. This one gets an A+

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