Port-roasted Figs with Mascarpone
16 ripe small black Italian figs
6 star anise
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
200g icing sugar
180g mascarpone, to serve
Grate the zest of the orange, then squeeze the juice.
Make a cross in the top of each fig with a sharp knife, then push each fruit together with your fingers so that the cross faces upwards.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
Pack the figs tightly together in a baking dish with their cut sides facing upwards (this way their shape will remain).
Pour the Port over the figs, then sprinkle over the orange zest and juice, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and the spices, and finally the icing sugar (it will seem a lot of sugar, but it needs to form a syrup).
Bake for 12-15 minutes (the high heat is crucial for the figs to bake rather than poach). Remove the dish from the oven and leave the figs to cool for 5 minutes.
Divide the figs equally between 4 bowls and spoon the mascarpone on top. Drizzle over the syrup from the dish and serve straight away.