Figs are one of the oldest cultivated fruits, dating back to nearly 10,000BCE, predating the growing of wheat, barley or any of the legumes and are thought to be one of the first crops ever domesticated. They were a common food source in ancient Rome and ancient Greece. In Greece they were a valuable export and the sale was strictly controlled by the state. In Rome they were said to have been brought into the Senate by Cato the Elder in support of the Third Punic War. He raised his hands full of fresh figs from Carthage to show the closeness of it to Rome, and thereby the proximity of the threat.
Figs were meant to be eaten before dinner and were thought to bring about pleasant dreams. Again, I served mine at 9 in the morning, so I don't know about the dreams....
All I could find were dried figs at my local Trader Joes, so that's what I got. I re hydrated about half of them by simmering them in one cup of sweet white wine until they were soft - about 10 minutes. I removed them from the wine and set them aside. After they cooled, I cut them in half length-wise and placed them out cut side up. I used a food processor to finely chop about 2 or 3 tablespoons of pistachio nuts. I poured them into a bowl and pressed half of the figs cut side down into the nuts. I arranged them in a storage dish and in the morning drizzled honey over the top.
The second half of the re-hydrated figs I dealt with in the morning. Once I got to school, I scooped a small amount of mascarpone cheese on top of each fig half and then sprinkled each one with lemon zest.
I had never had figs so I wasn't sure what to expect out of these. They were awesome!! They looked fancy and like a bit of work and were a unique appetizer that wasn't difficult to do. I've had requests from classmates ever since to make the recipes again.