What could be better than a dessert that's a little sweet and a little savory? Did I mention that it’s fried? I remember a time when mascarpone cheese (often referred to as Italian cream cheese) could be found only in upscale shops. That’s no longer the case, and it has now become a staple in many kitchens.
Check out more wine-inspired desserts here!
Serves | 6 |
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp mascarpone
- 1 cup milk
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- oil, for frying
- granulated sugar, for coating
- 1 cup ruby port
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups finely chopped dried figs
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups apple juice
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼-inch slice fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp orange zest
| Preparation – Fritters | In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, egg, sugar, mascarpone, milk, butter and vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes. Fold in the goat cheese, being careful to leave the crumbles intact.
Meanwhile, heat about 4 cups of oil, depending on the size of your pan. You will need enough oil to cover the fritters completely while frying. Test oil for readiness by dropping a tiny piece of batter into the oil. When the piece of batter starts to rapidly sizzle, the oil is hot enough for frying. Drop the fritters by scant teaspoonfuls into the oil and cook until deep golden-brown. Gently turn with a fork to cook both sides. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon to a large plate lined with paper towels and cool slightly. Roll in granulated sugar until lightly coated.
| Preparation – Port Reduction | Combine port and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until reduced, thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes.
| Preparation – Fig Chutney | Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the pod to remove the contents. Add the contents of the bean to the sugar and use your hands to mix well. Add the vanilla sugar to a medium saucepan with the remaining ingredients, except orange zest, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1 to 2 hours, until figs are soft and spreadable. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add orange zest and process until ingredients are well-incorporated but the figs still have some texture. Remove from the food processor and cool. If desired, you can store the chutney in an airtight container and refrigerate for 7 days.
| To Serve | For each serving, place a large spoonful of port reduction in the center of a plate. Place 2 Tbsp chutney on top of the sauce and arrange several fritters atop the chutney.
SUGGESTED WINE PAIRING: Augusta Vignoles Icewine 2010 from Augusta Winery, Augusta, Mo. augustawinery.com