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In a medium heavy saucepan combine egg yolks, milk, and granulated sugar. Cook and stir continuously with a heatproof rubber scraper over medium heat just until sauce thickens and just coats the back of the scraper. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Quickly cool custard by placing saucepan in a large bowl of ice water for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour custard mixture into a medium bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Do not stir.
Meanwhile, for sherry-caramel sauce, in a medium heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in sherry. Cool for 15 minutes.
To serve, halve figs. Spoon custard into 8 dessert dishes. Top each with 2 fig halves, cut sides up. Drizzle with some of the sherry-caramel sauce. (Remaining sauce can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 weeks. Serve over ice cream, cake, or fruit.)