Sunday, 14 February 2010

Black Fruit Salad with Figs and Brown-Sugar Crème Fraîche

Black Fruit Salad with Brown-Sugar Crème FraîcheFigs are in high season in the Cape now, and my goodness they are luscious things. We had a fig tree in our garden when we were children, and every time I taste a fresh fig I'm reminded of standing under that tree inhaling the musky perfume of sun-warmed green figs and marvelling at the sticky white sap that welled from the stalks.

Actually, the figs of my childhood are not a patch on the beautiful figs in the shops now:  with their dusty purplish-black skins and gorgeous coral-coloured flesh, they look and taste just  irresistible. These dark figs are grown in the Paarl area, I believe, while the bulk of South Africa's fig crop comes from the Klein Karoo region.

Also in season in the Cape are blackberries, blueberries and table grapes, so I've combined them with figs to make this mysterious-looking black (well, mostly black) fruit salad.   The first time I made it (and photographed it) I left it undressed; the second time, I tossed it with a little lemon juice and icing sugar, which gave the fruit a lovely zingy gloss.

Mix the brown sugar with the cream just before you serve the salad, so it stays thick and retains a crunch: if you make it in advance the sugar will dissolve and liquefy the cream. Chill all the fruit before you make the salad.

Black Fruit Salad with Brown-Sugar Crème Fraîche

1 big bunch sweet black grapes, halved and deseeded
1 cup (250 ml) blackberries
1 cup (250 ml)blueberries
4 purple figs, quartered
1 Tbsp (15 ml) icing sugar
the juice of half a lemon
1 cup (250 ml) crème fraîche or mascarpone
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp (30 ml) brown sugar

Combine the fruit in a bowl and stir in the icing sugar and lemon juice. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Just before you serve the salad, mix together the crème fraîche, vanilla and brown sugar. Divide the salad into four bowls and place a dollop of crème fraîche over each portion.

Serves 4.

Note: the redcurrants adorning this salad come straight from my deep freezer: they're locally grown redcurrants, which you can read about here.

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Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a luscious salad with the figs. Gorgeous photography too. You've created a masterpiece.

Happy Valentine's Day.

arcadia said...

how amazingly beautiful. i'm a late bloomer when it comes to figs, but now that i've discovered them they seem to pop up around every corner.

Nina Timm said...

The red currants create such a lovely contrast to this black fruit salad......baeutiful work!!!

Homemade Heaven said...

I can't resist to brag about the fig tree I have in my garden. I picked 2 big juicy purple figs this weekend and devoured them both, without a thought of sharing! Heaven is filled with figs!

Marisa said...

Ooooh yes, this looks amazingly good! Seems great minds think alike - we also had figs yesterday, but with a spicy chocolate dipping sauce.

wood furniture said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you and to your family! This is a luscious salad! I am really overwhelmed with this.

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Oh wow - look at those FIGS!! You struggle so to get nice ripe ones here in the UK... Love the idea of a black fruit salad - I feel a themed dinned coming on :)