Sunday, September 28

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs

green figs 5

One night last week Jeff came home from work and handed me a bag from his clinic. I thought, "Yes! More free anti-wrinkle cream!" (Having a dermatologist as a husband does have its advantages). When I peeked inside the bag, however, I discovered something even better than antioxidant cream: a dozen plump, brilliant green figs that were beginning to split from ripeness. "Wow! Where did you get the fresh figs?" I asked. "Adel gave them to me from the tree in her yard," he said.

Adel, who works with Jeff, told him, "Last year my tree produced three figs. One for me, one for my husband, and one for the birds." Fortunately she's having a bumper crop this season, and we're two of the lucky beneficiaries.

fig risotto bonny

To celebrate fall's arrival, I'm sharing a recipe for Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs. Arborio rice, which is used to make risotto, makes the most luxurious rice pudding imaginable: it's plump, tender, and creamy. Topping it with perfumed, wine-poached figs adds elegance and sweetness, resulting in a remarkably velvety, rich pudding.

Just don't wait too long to try this recipe because, sadly, fresh fig season will be over soon. Though my inclination is to lament their passing, I've decided to be more practical this year. I've turned my attention to fall's upcoming stars: persimmons and Medjool dates. I already feel better.

Dessert Risotto with Wine Poached Figs
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

Poached Figs:
2 cups Muscata wine (or other sweet dessert wine of your choice)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split down the middle
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 whole orange peel from a fresh orange
8 fresh Brown Turkish Turkey or Black Mission figs, quartered

1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios, for garnish
Orange zest curls, for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, add wine, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, cloves, and orange peel, and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce becomes slightly syrupy.

Removes the stems from the figs and cut into quarters. Add to the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add rice, water, milk, and sugar to a medium, shallow, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir well, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, letting the rice bubble gently for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, the rice will be plump, and the pudding will be thick and creamy. Give it a taste--the rice should be fully cooked yet maintain a slight firmness.

Allow to cool slightly before placing in individual serving dishes. Top with a spoonful of poached figs and drizzle the sauce over the pudding. Garnish with chopped pistachios and orange zest curls. Pudding can be served warm or at room temperature.

You might also like:

KW SRusso pumpkin pie risotto

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest
I was saddened to learn that Gina De Palma, author of the splendid cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and executive pastry chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC,has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of Gina, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (via and to partake in their O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest. Interested? Here's what you need to do (this is from Sara's blog):

1. Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;


2. If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.


3. Then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you've made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.

We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.

  • 1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;
  • 1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.


From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:

  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
and help spread the word!

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Anonymous said...

I'm so envious. I would love a fig tree in my backyard, and a lemon tree too.

Heather said...

this looks delicious! i love sweet risotto! congrats on the cool npr article, too!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

What a wonderful dessert!

Anonymous said...

Fresh figs are, hands down, my favorite fruit.

And to think I only discovered them a couple of years ago.

Manggy said...

"Jeff, why is my anti-wrinkle cream packaged inside fresh figs?" ;) Susan, this looks absolutely perfect after a light meal on a cold day! :) The pumpkin pie risotto looks exquisite too :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This risotto is almost more like rice pudding, with milk as part of the liquid? How lovely to pair it with the figs!

Anonymous said...

I love risotto. This is very clever Susan.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Marvelous! Fresh figs are delicious! A great combination!

Cheers and have a good week,


Proud Italian Cook said...

That pumpkin pie risotto looks outstanding I have to say, as well as the fig one! Perfection!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I love figs, I love risotto, but I haven't gotten into sweet risotto yet...I think I need to remedy that!

Thanks for helping us spread the word about O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness :)

NĂºria said...

Mmmmmm Susan! Figs are my favourite! No anti wrinkle creams can fight them... my choice would be figs, always!
Amazing dessert girl, never thought of this kind of combo but looks superb :D

Finla said...

Now i know the secret why you have no rimples on you face in the phote :-)
Love the rossotoo.
Imagine eating them spoon by spoon together with the figgs
super delicious

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Having a husband who is a dermatologist would definitely be welcomed at my age. Instead I work for an opthalmologist so cataract surgery, Vitalux and eye drops are more likely...wink...wink...
This us a delicious recipe ending in "O" for this event. A beautiful dish!!

Debbie said...

Figs are my favorite fruit. Your dessert sounds delicious!

ames said...

Lucky you! I actually saw figs in the store the other day but I was too scared to look at the price...

Anonymous said...

I love figs. In fact we too have loads of fig trees in our mountain home back in lebanon! Figs remind me of my childhood! THis desert is mouthwatering! thanks for sharing :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

The weather here has been perfect for treats like this sweet risotto, Susan - I would have it hot, like my mom used to serve me rice pudding. YUM!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh my healthy heart! What a wonderful taste treat this must be. I haven't found any fresh figs this year, I'm looking thought.
This is really beautiful.

Anonymous said...

those figs look amazing and deliciously plump. What a fine way to use it in a dessert risotto!

Elly said...

Susan - I adore figs in every way, shape, and form. But dessert risotto with figs? This is one of the best looking things I have seen ever. :)

Anonymous said...

Your photos are gorgeous! I love the idea of sweet risotto pudding with figs, but will have to tweak your recipe a bit as I'm not eating dairy and have given up refined sugar. I'll figure out a way to make this work as it looks too good to pass up! My sugar is in the form of Medjool dates, which are my favorite "candy." Can't wait for your recipes for those! Thanks...

Anonymous said...

I've never had a dessert risotto but I bet I'd love it. Fresh fig season just ended here --or at least my personal fig season which is based on a fig tree in the yard of one of my officemates -- so I am bookmarking this for next September. But in the meantime I'll have to try a different dessert risotto -- maybe the pumpkin pie risotto.

ExpatChef said...

I love figs. I usually roast them and drizzle with balsamic reduction, serve with goat cheese and dressed baby greens. Nice work with the O-foods, I am trying to think of a recipe!

Ivy said...

Lucky you Susan having all those anti wrinkle creams. Your risotto sounds delicious and I can imagine those poached figs. Yummy!

Shreya said...

love the combo of figs with rice in milk! great pic. those muffins are so tempting.

Joanna said...

I think I just drooled a bit at the name of this recipe, before I even saw the photos. Must... find... figs...

Anonymous said...

Oh! These photos are so beautiful! Not only do they look delicious but they bring back so many memories: when I was growing up there was a fig tree in our backyard, and I loved nothing more than climbing into it's branches and snacking on these succulent fruits. Sigh, those were the days!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

This is different for dessert and it looks so yummy. I love figs. Too bad they are hard to find around here.

Anonymous said...

Another fresh and mouthwatering recipe from you! I love figs, love rice pudding, never thought to marry the two.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...rice pudding and figs...two of the best things ever. Love it!

Maria said...

I have never made a sweet risotto! This one looks awesome!!

Lisa Johnson said...

You have no idea how much I wish I had some of this right now!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Its hard to beat antioxidant cream, but figs would do it! ;-) This looks delicious--I love rice pudding and I love figs. Also, the other items you mentioned got me drooling (pumpkin pie risotto! Yum!). And thanks for the link :-)

Annie said...

I have to say, you always make the most interesting recipes... this one is no exception, it is calling me!

Darius T. Williams said...

The new rice pudding...YES!


Anonymous said...

Your risotto with the figs look delicious and I'm sure they taste like they look. You make life difficult by posting TWO tempting desserts in one post...and my self discipline has just about disappeared along with the last days of summer!

cmoore said...

I have *never heard* of dessert risotto! Apparently I've been living under a rock -- those look incredible. Not to mention I consider figs one of the most divine foods around...

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

I commented over at looks great to me :)

Cris said...

This looks beautiful and delicious Susan, what a great idea to use figs, I always end up eating them raw because I lack ideas...

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful risotto! I made a savory risotto recently. Thanks for teaching us that risotto can be made for dessert too!

Cakelaw said...

How delicious! And how wonderful to have a friend who not only grows figs, but is happy to share them.

Unknown said...

looks yummy and creamy. i love it with fresh figs. great combination with nuts as well. great work, susan!

Laurie said...

Both of these risotto's look wonderful! I love the addition of sweetness and crunch!

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing. I made a similar risotto using strawberries and it was delicious. Who knew risottos could be desserts?

Anonymous said...

It's not like me to miss a fig post ;) This one looks fab!
Hi Susan!

Jaime said...

you know... i still need to try fresh figs! and a dessert risotto. both this and your pumpkin pie risotto look amazing!

Deeba PAB said...

Gorgeous dessert's wonderful. Jef sounds like Santa...what fun!! Way to go Dermadoc!!!

Annemarie said...

Dessert risotto - an adult way of having some comforting rice pudding. The green figs at the top look very pretty with the contrast against the pinky-purple flesh.

Anonymous said...

This sounds excellent! It's funny because the first food related blog that I read tonight is about risotto right after I posted tips about making risotto earlier today. I think risotto and polenta are two of my favorite dishes because they both allow you to build creative recipes which change the entire profile of the dish.

Anonymous said...

Dessert risotto - what a cool idea! And with figs involved - even better! This dessert looks wonderful, Susan.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

mary-So would I!


lisa-Thank you!

hilary-They are amazing.

mark-You crack me up.

lydia-It is like rice pudding, but thicker and creamier.

marc-I appreciate that.

rosa-Thanks a bunch!


sara-Yes, you must. Right away! You're welcome. :)

nuria-Nope. Figs trump creams every time. ;)

happy cook-Aw, you're sweet.

val-Lasik anyone? ;)

debbie-Thank you!

ames-I know what you mean. But they're only around such a preciously short time, so, go on and splurge! :)

dks-Oh, you are so lucky to have a tree heavy with figs. Thanks for visiting!

patricia- Moms and rice pudding are naturals together.:)

tanna-I really hope you find some soon. :)

veropn-Thanks for the kind words.

elly-Wow! You made my day!

gffg-That's ok. Tweak away! Let me know how it turns out!

julie-Oh, I love the pumpkin pie risotto too. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

expatchef-I love them like that too.

ivy-I still prefer the figs! :)

shreya-Thank you so much!

joanna-Yay! Glad to hear it.

ari-Those were the days, indeed.

helene-That is too bad.

susan-They're a marriage made in heaven. :)

pofp-You'll really love this then!

maria-Hope you try it!

anali-I wish I could serve up a bowl to you. :)

mike-You're welcome!

annie-I really appreciate that.

darius-Yes, indeedy!

ronell-I know what you mean!

cmoore-It's just like rice pudding but better!

michelle-Thank you.

cris-I hope this gives you some inspiration!

hillary-My pleasure!

cakelaw-I know!

arfi-Thank you kindly!

laurie-Me too!

jude-That sounds light and lovely.

maryann-I didn't think so. :)

jaime-I hope you try them both!

deeba-He is kinda like Santa, only thinner and with no beard. ;o

annemarie-Thank you so much. I enjoyed photographing them.

justin-I agree. And I too am a big fan of polenta. Thanks for the comment.

miri-Thanks to you!

Jeanne said...

Oh, how gorgeous this looks! I don't eat nearly enough figs while they are in season...