Heat the oven to 450°F. Select a nonreactive baking dish in which all the figs will fit snugly so they'll stay standing upright during roasting. Rinse and dry the figs and arrange them snugly in the baking dish. In a medium skillet, spread the sugar evenly; put the skillet on medium-low heat
When the sugar starts melting around the edges, shake the pan to redistribute the unmelted sugar. When the sugar turns a deep honey color, start shaking, tilting, and swirling the pan to melt the sugar evenly. Be patient, there's no need to poke at the unmelted sugar.
Making caramel takes patience. Melt the sugar slowly, gently shaking and tilting the pan.
Continue this way until all the sugar is completely melted, clear, and turns medium amber, about 15 minutes total cooking time. Pour the caramel over the figs, scraping out the pan thoroughly. Roast the figs in the caramel until big brown bubbles form and the caramel is deep amber, about 15 minutes. Cool the figs in the fridge; they'll collapse as they cool. Arrange the figs on serving plates, drizzle the caramel over them, and garnish with whipped cream or ricotta.
When every bit of sugar has melted and the syrup is deep amber, pour it over the figs.
nutrition information (per serving):
with 1/4 cup whipped cream, Calories
12, Fat Calories
100, Saturated Fat
2, Monounsaturated Fat
55, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips