Figs for 1001 Nights

Nigella Lawson's cinnamon-infused figs make a fitting end to a long lazy dinner on a summer evening
By Nigella Lawson
Figs for 1001 Nights
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 12 black figs
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1.5 tsp rose water
  • 1.5 tsp orange flower water
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 100 g pistachio nuts, slivered

Tips and Suggestions

This is so simple - scarcely a recipe really - but so good. Unless you get figs straight from the tree they sometimes need the blistering heat of an oven or grill to bring out all their honeyed sweetness. The cinnamon is emphatic, certainly, but it doesn't overwhelm the whole; it, rather, infuses the fruit, along with the kitchen you're cooking it in, with mellow spiciness. This is the pudding to end a slow-grazing, long-picking dinner eaten outside on a warm, balmy night.

If you haven't got any vanilla sugar, just use ordinary caster sugar and add a drop of pure vanilla extract along with the flower waters. A Middle-Eastern store of some kind will stock packets of slivered pistachios, vividly green and splintered into little boat-shaped shards. But if you can't get them, just buy shelled pistachios from a health shop or supermarket and chop them roughly with a knife or mezzaluna yourself.


1. Preheat a grill or oven to the fiercest it will go.

2. Quarter the figs, taking care not to cut all the way through to the bottom, so that they open like flowers, or young birds squawking to be fed worms by their mummy, and sit them, thus opened, in a heatproof dish into which they fit snugly.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the cinnamon, sugar and flower waters. Stir to combine and pour into the figs.

4. Blister under the hot grill or bake in the oven for a few minutes and then serve; it's that quick. Just give each person a couple of figs on a side-plate. Splodge alongside some mascarpone over which you drizzle some of the conker-dark syrup, then sprinkle over some of those green, green shards of pistachio.

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