Port Wine, Fig and Mascarpone Parfaits

This simple parfait combines layers of lightly sweetened mascarpone cream, fresh oranges and a richly flavored compote of figs and port wine to make a sophisticated, fall-inspired dessert.

Port Wine, Fig and Mascarpone Parfaits

Port Wine, Fig and Mascarpone Parfaits

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

An elegant, fall dessert made with layers of mascarpone cream, fresh figs simmered in port wine, orange zest and slices of sweet navel orange.


  • 1 lb fresh figs, stemmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup ruby (or tawny) port
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large navel orange
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Place the figs, port and granulated sugar in a saucepan and set aside.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outermost layer of the orange peel (no more than 1/16-inch thick), taking care not to include any of the bitter white pith below. Slice into thin strips and place all but 1 tablespoon in the saucepan with the figs. Finely chop the remaining zest and set aside.
  3. Using a knife, remove the remainder of the peel from the orange. Cut it into thin slices, then separate each slice into quarters. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Bring the fig mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has nearly evaporated and the consistency is like a slightly runny jam. Transfer to a bowl and chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours.
  5. Place the mascarpone cheese, confectioners' sugar, orange extract, triple sec and reserved orange zest in a mixing bowl, and beat for about 30 seconds with a handheld electric mixer. Add the whipping cream and beat on high until the mixture forms soft peaks.
  6. To assemble the parfaits, spoon about 3 tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture into the bottom of 4 small serving dishes. Top with orange slices and some of the fig mixture, then repeat the layers, reserving about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture for garnish if desired.