First, check to see if your dates are moist and pliable (slightly squishy). If so, move on to the next step. If not, soak them in warm water for 8-10 minutes, then drain and proceed.
Add the dates and vanilla bean paste to a food processor. Pulse, stopping to scrape down sides occasionally, until the mixture begins to form a paste and a few bits remain. Add a scant pinch of salt, set the processor to run on low, and slowly pour in a thin stream of very warm water until the mixture becomes a thick, creamy paste.
Scrape down the sides again and taste to see if the date caramel needs more salt. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, if it lasts that long!
*To make topping the figs easier, I load the date caramel into a disposable pastry bag.
Assemble the Figs
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat, and place the figs on it cut side up.
Top each fig with a dollop of date caramel - I usually use a pastry bag, but you can use a small spoon too.
Add the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring thoroughly between each 30 seconds, until chocolate is just melted. Immediately drizzle chocolate over figs.
Before the chocolate begins to set, sprinkle chopped pistachios over the figs and add a bit of flaky sea salt to each fig.
Allow chocolate to fully set (about 30 minutes in a 75 degree F room, or 10 minutes in the fridgand enjoy.
Can be stored in the fridge for 1 day in a covered container.