Figs served fresh & baked , Fig sap Ricotta fresh & baked , Mulled Red & White wine syrups and Toasted Fig leaves .
The ricotta was the first preparation of this dish and was done the night before. I first heated cows milk in a saucepan gently until just before the boil and then added three pieces of 3 inch long stem that had been nicked all down the length to allow more sap to run. Once the curds started to separate from the whey I removed the pot from the stove stirring gently. The curds were then ladled into a cheese cloth lined colander to drain. At this stage I reserved some of the curd for presenting as is, before tying the four corners of the cloth and hanging for about 1-2 hours. The cheese was then re-wrapped and pressed into a mould with a 1kg weight on top, this was placed into the fridge overnight and the next morning turned and pressed for a further 2-3 hours. The cheese was then un-moulded and un-wrapped, brushed lightly with olive oil and baked in a 160 deg.c. oven until golden in colour. The baked ricotta still fragile while warm was allowed to cool before being sliced into small wedges for plating. The baked fig was simply cut in half and sprinkled with panela (evaporated sugarcane juice) before being placed on to a tray and baked at 160 deg.c. until the panela caramelises and the fig collapses. The leaves were simply toasted under a grill until caramel in colour and deep in aroma. To make the syrups I used a dessert white from Crete, Greece which is made from brandied grape must and thyme flavoured honey. This was reduced with lemon peel and sugar to a thick syrup, to make the red syrup I used a young shiraz from the Barossa along with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and sugar.