Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Figs - FB2B, part 77

I wasn't kidding when I wrote last week that it was a struggle to figure out what to do with the pre-fixed quantity of figs that I had to buy at the store. On the other hand, it also gave me a chance to go through the recipes I've pulled from various sources and to cross a few of them off of my list.

I've been a long-time reader of BBC Good Food magazine. Recently, I discovered a new addition to their family: Olive magazine. This publication is trying to be a bit more hip and fresh and target an audience that has traveled and is a bit more exploratory in their tastes. I have found their recipes to be colorful and easy to follow and a bit more refined than that of their "big sister" magazine (searching via the BBC Good Food site is easier to do).

One of the weekly challenges I, and I suspect most of us, have is not just to use up fresh, seasonal produce prior to it going bad, but also to come up with ways to use it to make interesting meals during the weeknight. This recipe helped me solve that dilemma along with the question of what to with the leftover figs. It made a nice, uncomplicated dinner at the end of a long day, and this chutney could also go well with grilled lamb or beef.

However, the supper didn't quite finish off the last of the figs. In my on-line search for this recipe, I came across one on BBC Good Food's site for "Honey roasted fig & almond tart." While it looked simple to make, I discovered a few stumbling blocks along the way.

New York is fabulous. You can get everything here, almost, except for the times that you absolutely need to have whatever it is. Then, it is guaranteed not to be available. I can't tell you how many great meals or cooking plans have gone astray as I could not locate the one key thing I needed to have to make a recipe work.

This time, the missing ingredient was puff pastry, sold in sheets. [I wasn't going to attempt to make it by hand.] If I'd wanted to pay a lot of money, I could just buy it at the gourmet store quite a few blocks away, but I knew that it should be available at the grocery store in my block for much less. Well, the only kind that they had were the puff pastry in shells. I decided to give it a try.

Modifying recipes is always a risk, especially in baking, but I decided that this one was worth a go. I followed the instructions on the back of the box to cook the pastry shells before stuffing them. If going this route, I suggest making only half of the filling as listed in the recipe, as it takes about one heaping tablespoon of it to fill the pastry cases. I made the entire batch of fruit, cutting it into small cubes so that it would fit into the shells.

Then, I cooked the shells for about 20-25 minutes, at the temperature suggested in the original recipe. This might need a few more tweaks, but the taste of the melty figs with a dash of citrus from the orange peel was harmony on my tongue. The individual pastries would be elegant at a dinner party or for a special meal. Best of all, it allowed me to finish up the last of the figs that I had.

Buon appetito!

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