1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, sliced
2 cups light brown sugar
30 large dried California Calimyrna figs
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, divided
Sea salt*; as needed
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine cream, vanilla, butter and brown sugar in heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 3 minutes, making sure it does not boil over. Remove cover; increase heat to medium, and continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 280°F or until caramelized. Turn onto prepared baking sheet and cool at room temperature.
Meanwhile, cut a small slice from one side of each fig, and make a well by pushing the back of a 1/2-teaspoon measure into center of that side; set aside. When caramel is cool enough to handle, measure 1/2-teaspoon portions and press into figs, smoothing across opening.
Then, place 12 ounces of chocolate in top of double boiler over hot water and stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 4 ounces of chocolate, until melted and smooth.
Using tweezers, dip each caramel-filled fig into the melted chocolate. Lay flat side up onto the parchment-lined sheet tray. Let stand about 1 minute, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt just before the chocolate sets.
Recipe Credit: Chef Michael Shackelford of Trelio for California Fig Board