Use purplish-black Mission figs, green-skinned Calimyrnas, or both for this great-tasting dessert. Give the figs a gentle squeeze to check for ripeness; they should be quite soft.
Food & Wine JANUARY 1998
1. Heat the oven to 425°. Cut the stems off the figs. Rub the oil over the figs and put them in a baking pan, stem-side up. Cut a cross in the top of each fig, cutting almost to the bottom.
2. Drizzle the honey over the figs. Top each one with a piece of the butter. Bake the figs until they open up like flowers, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
3. Put the figs on plates, add the water to the pan, return the pan to the oven for 1 minute, and then stir to make a sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the warm figs and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Variations: Sprinkle one-half cup chopped walnuts or pistachios over the figs after the first seven minutes of cooking.
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