Figs with salted caramel sauce

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes + 1 hour cooling
Serves: 4

• 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
• 1/4 cup (60mL) water
• 1/2 cup (125mL) pouring cream
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
• sea salt flakes, to taste
• 6 large fresh figs, quartered
• mascarpone, to serve

1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and stir over low heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the syrup turns golden-brown.

2. Remove from the heat and add the cream to the pan (be careful, as it will bubble up). Return to a low heat and stir without boiling until the lumps dissolve and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the vanilla essence. Transfer to a heatproof jug to cool, and refrigerate for about 1 hour, until cold and thickened slightly.

3. Stir a good pinch of salt flakes into the caramel sauce (see note, below). Serve this drizzled over the quartered fresh figs, with a dollop of mascarpone, and sprinkle a little more salt over if you like.

note:I add the salt to the caramel sauce after it cools so the flakes stay mostly undissolved – giving you the occasional tangy pop of saltiness which contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the figs and caramel.