Baked Fig Pops with Blue Cheese and Candied Almonds

(NC)—Developed for the Almond Board of California by Trish Magwood, author of James Beard award winning cookbook ‘dish entertains’, and TV host of ‘party dish’

These quick yet elegant nibbles impress guests and keep the host calm. If the candying of the almonds seems like too much, simply rough chop and dry toast in a frying pan for 5 minutes or until fragrant to eliminate sugar.

This is a different variation of my cheese tray in a bite – fruit, cheese, nuts in one mouthful – heaven. For slightly heartier fare, throw them on a thin crostini, pushing the figs down slightly so they don’t roll away onto your cocktail party neighbour’s fancy shoes.

For a fabulous alternative, feel free to try sliced pears on a crostini instead of figs, as shown in this photo.

Makes 20 hors d’oeuvres
¼ cup         (50 mL)     white sugar

1/3 cup         (75 mL)     whole almonds

10                 fresh figs

1/4 lb         (125 g)         good-quality blue cheese

3 tbsp         (50 mL)     honey
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Roughly chop almonds. In a small non-stick fry pan over medium heat, cook sugar until it turns to liquid. Add chopped almonds and carefully stir until coated. Allow nuts to cook and candy, about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, remove nuts to a board.

Cut each fig in half, then cut a small slice off the side of each fig so it will lie flat, cut side up. Arrange figs, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Top each fig half with a piece of blue cheese. Break a small piece of candied almonds and put on top.

Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Immediately drizzle each fig with a little honey and serve warm.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories: 82 kcals            Fibre: 1 g

Total Fat: 3 g                Cholesterol: 5 mg

Saturated Fat: 1 g            Sodium: 88 mg

Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g        Calcium: 48 mg

Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g        Magnesium: 12 mg

Protein: 2 g                Potassium: 91mg

Carbohydrates: 13 g            Vitamin E: 0.6 mg