As I mentioned in my last post, I celebrated Christmas in Chicago with my mom. The boyfriend even came home with me! I got to show him around Geneva; we went to the Shedd Aquarium and wandered around downtown; and we spent some wonderful quality time with my mom and friends. With everything going on, I told my mom that the one thing I wanted to do to help was to take care of dessert. On top of everything she was doing for us, I didn’t want her to have to also do a bunch of Christmas baking!
On Sunday afternoon, while picking up last-minute groceries, I ran around the store trying to figure out what I was going to make for dessert! After marathon baking sessions for the majority of December and fighting off the sick for the last week, I have absolutely no idea what to do. I didn’t want to make anything too traditional or too out of the box or that would leave my mom with massive leftovers. I didn’t have my usual arsenal of back-up ingredients, and since it was winter in Chicago, my produce options were limited.
So I ended up adapting my award-winning Fig and Grape Pie to account for a lack of fresh figs and to make tarts. (As an added bonus, my mom also got to take some of the tarts to work to share with her friends who read my blog!) The resulting Fig and Grape Tarts are absolutely amazing. The flavor from the original pie recipe still holds true in the tarts, but the dried figs give the filling a chewier texture and a deeper flavor. And they keep very well in a sealed container, so they can be enjoyed without worrying about eating a much larger slice of pie!
When I got home from Chicago, I whipped up another batch of the tarts to share with you all! The tarts are great on their own, but were also amazing warmed and served with the leftover Brie Ice Cream that I found stashed away in my freezer. (Present-Emily thanks past-Emily for that wonderful little surprise!)
Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂
Fig and Grape Tarts
Yield: 24 tarts
You are going to need:
- 1 recipe pie dough for a 2-crust pie
- 7 ounces dried black Mission figs
- 1/2 pound seedless red grapes or black grapes, quartered
- Scant 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 2 tablespoons orange zest (zest of 1 orange)
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
You are also going to need:
- Hot water
- Small bowl
- Large saucepan
- Mixing spoon
- Rolling pin
- Flour for rolling out dough
- 2 12-cup muffin tins
- Round cookie cutters – Choose 1 small cookie cutter that fits inside of rim of muffin tin and 1 that is slightly larger than the rim (I use the 2 1/4″ & 3 1/16″ cutter from this set.)
First, place the figs in a small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover, and soak the figs for approximately 15 minutes.
Drain the excess water from the figs, and then remove the stems and cut the figs in to small pieces.
Rinse the grapes in cold water, and cut them in to halves (if small) or quarters (if large).
Place the figs and grapes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, orange zest, and orange juice, and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Once the liquid begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the cognac, and then stir it in to the fruit mixture. Cook until all the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency.
Remove the fig and grape filling from the heat and let cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 375° F.
For the crust, divide the dough in to two parts. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the first half of the dough. Roll the dough to a uniform thickness. If you’re using pre-rolled dough, lay it out on your lightly floured work surface, and roll it out slightly to work out any creases and thin the dough a little. (If your dough is too thick or tough, it will crack when you try to press it in to the muffin wells.)
Using your larger cookie cutter, cut out the dough for the bottom of the tarts. Lightly press the dough circles in to the muffin wells.
Add about 1 tablespoon of the fig and grape filling to each of the tarts. (Be sure to only fill the tarts about 2/3-full or else they will overflow when baking and make a big, big mess.)
Roll out the second half of the dough, and cut out dough circles for the tops of the tarts using your smaller cookie cutter. Cut a slit in the center of each top.
Place the tops of the tarts in each muffin well.
Re-roll the dough scraps and assemble additional tarts.
Bake the tarts in your preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned.
Remove the tarts from the oven, and then immediately remove them from the muffin wells so that they don’t stick. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Quick tip: If your tarts oozed a little, use a knife to carefully remove them from the muffin wells. To make clean-up infinitely easier, immediately soak your muffin pans so that the filling doesn’t stick! (Now is also the perfect time to break out the silicone baking pans, if you have them!)
Store in a sealed container between layers of wax paper. The tarts should keep for up to one week at room temperature.