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Frangelico Figs with Creamy Blue Cheese
Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur that is not cloyingly sweet despite the fact it is a dessert liqueur. Its flavors marry beautifully with the salty, creamy blue cheese. The figs add a silky texture as well as their legendary natural sweetness, making this a cheese dessert that is not only simple but also decidedly elegant. Because it takes just a few minutes to make, it will likely become one of your stand-by desserts whenever figs are in season.
Note: If you cannot get fresh figs, use dried Mission or Calimyrna figs. Because they are dried they will take a few minutes longer to cook, but their sweetness will come through.
1 cup Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur
8 fresh figs, preferably Mission or Brown Turkey, stems removed and cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces Montbriac cheese at room temperature, sliced into 8 equal pieces (or use Cambozola, Le Petit Bleu, Saga Blue, or Brie),
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
In a saucepan just large enough to hold the figs in one layer, bring the Frangelico to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Add the figs, cut side down, and cook for 5 minutes, or until they begin to feel soft but not squishy. Drain the figs, reserving the liquid, and place 2 figs on each of 4 individual plates cut side up. Top the figs with the cheese right away. (This ensures that the cheese will begin to melt).
Meanwhile, put the liquid back into the pan over a high heat. Reduce the liqueur until it is a syrupy consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top of the figs and drizzle the syrup over them. Serve right away.