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.
- 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
- Place the figs, port and granulated sugar in a saucepan and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.