Fig & Grape Tarts

Fig & Grape Tarts

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!

Fig & Grape Tarts 2

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!

Fig & Grape Tarts 3

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! 🙂

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Fig and Grape Pie

Also known as: the pie that won first place at the DC State Fair! 🙂

I am incredibly proud of this pie, especially because it is one of the first things I’ve sat down and created all on my own. (I usually modify other recipes instead of starting with a blank slate…) While musing on what to enter in to the pie competition for the DC State Fair, several things went through my head: maybe something with Nutella or a variation on peach pie or one of fifty other ideas. But then, when flipping though one of my cookbooks, the idea of combining figs and grapes stuck in my head. So I dug a little into the flavors that go well with figs and ended up with Cognac (brandy) and orange.

I gathered up all my ingredients the next day (mind you, this was only a few days before the competition) and composed my test run. I stewed down some figs and grapes, mixed with a little bit of sugar, cognac, and orange, in to a compote. When it was cool enough to eat, I sat down on the couch with the boyfriend and started the taste test…

I wasn’t quite sure how I felt right away. Cause the filling (compote at the time) is weird. It’s not what you would expect from a pie… Yes, it was strange, but damn, it was good. And those words just kept coming out of my mouth. It was like nothing I’d ever tasted before, but I just couldn’t stop eating it! The flavor of the figs is brought out by the cognac and orange, and the crunch of the grape adds a contrasting texture when cooked with the figs.

And apparently the judges liked it too! 😀

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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DC State Fair Follow-Up

As I posted on Saturday, this weekend was the DC State Fair baking competition. I entered two cupcake recipes that I developed, along with a family-recipe pie and one I came up with just last week. (For pics, check out Saturday’s post, linked above!)

The competition was fierce, with 50 entries of each pie and cupcakes! Pies were announced first, with the sub-categories of best crust and most original awarded to start. Then, the top 6 pies to go to final judging were announced. I stood there, fingers crossed, holding my breath to find out that my Fig and Grape pie placed! But then I started getting really nervous cause I really wanted to win…

Samples of the pies were brought out for the final judging, with mine being one of the last two tasted by the judges. The boyfriend thought he heard one of the judges whisper “this one is my favorite” when pointing to my pie, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. When they announced the winners, I didn’t place third… or second… I placed first!! I jumped up and down and tried to avoid screaming in excitement!

My prize included a blue ribbon (shown below), a small cash prize, a Whole Foods gift certificate, and the opportunity to have my pie featured either in a demo or for sale at my local Whole Foods! Unfortunately, my cupcakes didn’t place, but I was still riding high on the pie win, so I wasn’t too concerned. I still walked away elated! 😀

I’ll be posting the recipe some time in the next few weeks, so please check back. I’ll also likely be posting the recipe for the Zucchini cupcakes, so stay tuned for that as well. 🙂

And thank you to everyone at DC State Fair, Whole Foods on P Street, and Whisked for such a great competition! I’m already looking forward to next year… 😉

DC State Fair

Today, I am be competing in the DC State Fair baking competitions! There are two baking contests: pie and cupcakes. In the pie contest, there are prizes for best overall, best crust, most creative, and best apple pie. In the cupcake contest, there are prizes for best overall, most creative, and best vegetable-based cupcake. Entrants are allowed to submit up to two entries for east contest.

I’ve been working on my entries all week, and I’m pretty psyched to compete! I’d been brainstorming for a few months about what to enter, and I wish I could submit more than 2!! Finally, I narrowed it down to two entries for each competition. If you’re in DC, come check out the Fair! 🙂

Cupcake #1 – Brown Sugar Cake with Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

Cupcake #2 – Spiced Zucchini Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Pie #1 – Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Pie #2 – Fig and Grape Pie with Cognac and Orange

Wish me luck!! I’ll post about my results on Monday! 🙂

Happy Pi Day!

Yesterday, nerds math enthusiasts everywhere celebrated the annual holiday of Pi Day! Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14th (3/14) since 3.14 is the common approximation of π. In honor of this year’s Pi Day, I decided to make pie pops and bring them in to work. Cause who doesn’t love mini pie on a stick?? 🙂

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