In Around My French Table, Dorie explains that while the literal translation of this dish includes the word beggar, it’s typically used to describe a chocolate bonbon with nuts, dried fruit, and candied orange zest. That makes sense because I don’t know any beggars that can afford $6.99/lb pistachios. If they can, I’m in the wrong business.

This dish is basically a pasta tossed in browned butter with nuts and dried fruit and topped with orange zest and Parmesean. Now let me tell you that I don’t get buttered pasta. I often see other bloggers talk about how they grew up eating it when their mom didn’t feel like cooking or didn’t have time to get to the grocery store but growing up, we were more of a breakfast for dinner kind of family. So the idea of pasta with butter on it? It kind of grosses me out. In an effort to be more adventurous, I went ahead with the recipe.

It turned out really well! It’s not something that my husband or either of my kids would eat but it was a nice, quick lunch for me. I think it needs more nuts and fruit than the recipe calls for but if you’re into the buttered pasta thing, you’d probably love it just as it is. The figs are amazing, beyond amazing in the butter and with the almonds (I used balsamic almonds instead of plain). I added a large pinch of sea salt to the butter as it was browning and the saltiness with the sweet was perfect.

If you’re interested in cooking and baking you’re way through Around My French Table, make sure you visit French Fridays with Dorie. If you’re looking for the recipe, it can be found in Around My French Table.

32

Biscotti is my favorite cookie. I love the crunch factor and the interesting flavor combinations that are typical in biscotti. Plus biscotti is definitely the easiest cookie to make – you bake all (or half) of the dough as one log and then slice shortly before they finish cooking.

This recipe is my current go-to. The weird texture of the figs really stands out and goes perfectly with the whole wheat flour and walnuts. Everything in these cookies just works.

My one complaint: it’s a very wet dough. I would adjust the recipe but I always halve it and you know, things get tricky when you’re using 1/2 an egg. It may work perfectly if you make the whole recipe but if you end up with a very wet dough, don’t stress about it. The biscotti log will spread more than usual but they will bake up in the end.

11

Since becoming a food blogger my tastes have changed drastically. I always thought I hated all dried fruits but participating in blogging events (especially Tuesdays with Dorie because good lord that woman loves her some dried fruit) has made me appreciate the chewy little fruits. Raisins still make me feel like I’m licking a tire but I’ve come to love all the others, especially figs.

I know these probably sound and look weird but you just have to trust me. Goat cheese goes with just about everything but it’s beyond amazing when paired with fruit. The crunchy seeds of the figs and the creamy goat cheese was a match made in heaven. Even my husband, who almost divorced me over a pineapple and black bean burrito I made once, thought these were delicious.

Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped dried Mission figs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice about 1 orange
  • 40 1/2-inch-thick slices French bread baguette, toasted
  • 1 1/4 cups 10 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 5 teaspoons finely chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until figs are tender. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Top each bread slice with 1 1/2 teaspoons fig mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons goat cheese. Arrange bruschetta on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with walnuts. Broil 2 minutes or until nuts begin to brown. Serve warm.



adapted from Cooking Light

One year ago: Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Bagels
Two years ago: Banana Bundt Cake

3

I mentioned a few posts ago that I love making breakfast foods. I mean, really love. I also mentioned that I’m not a big fan of eating it but sticky buns are the exception. I adore them. I could eat a sticky bun for every meal and never get sick of them. You know what else I love? Figs. So can you guess how excited I was when I saw that Cooking Light had a recipe for Fig and Walnut Sticky Buns?

This was such a simple recipe. Honestly. The last sticky bun recipe I used involved brioche dough which was a giant pain in the butt to both me and my stand mixer but this dough I actually made in the bread machine. Gasp!

Since this was a Cooking Light recipe, they were nearly as amazing as others I’ve made but they did the job. They weren’t as saucy (?) as other recipes but I guess next time I could just double the sauce and cancel out the whole light thing. And the figs? Perfection.

Fig and Walnut Sticky Buns
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast about 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 2/3 cup warm water 100° to 110°
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted and divided
  • 7.9 ounces all-purpose flour about 1 3/4 cups, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar divided
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Dissolve granulated sugar and yeast in 2/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let mixture stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons melted butter.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) flour, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, syrup, and milk in a small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Remove pan from heat; stir in figs. Sprinkle walnuts evenly into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray; spoon fig mixture evenly over nuts in bottom of pan.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°.
  6. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 12 x 10–inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons butter over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon mixture. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends). Cut into 12 (1-inch-wide) slices. Place slices, cut side up, into pan. (Slices do not fill pan but will once dough rises.) Cover pan with a damp towel; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
  7. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until buns are lightly browned. Cool buns in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Place a serving platter upside down on top of pan; invert buns onto platter. Serve warm.

2

Time to kick off the new blog and I’m going to do it with one of the best things ever.

Homemade fig bars. Like Fig Newtons but more addictive.

I go through phases where I am absolutely obsessed with Fig Newtons. I can’t walk out of a store without buying a box and then I usually shove the entire box in my face on the drive home. I just adore them. There’s something so great about the gooey fig “jam” with the little crunchy seeds all wrapped in a cakey crust. Mmm.

I bookmarked this recipe during my most recent Fig Newton phase which was only a few weeks ago but I’ve been having trouble finding figs around here. I managed to find some at Walgreens of all places recently so it was finally time to try the recipe.

These are nothing like Fig Newtons to me. They are every bit as good and maybe better, but they don’t have much in common. The outside had the texture of a sugar cookie instead of the soft exterior that Fig Newtons have. The filling is amazingly good! I had some leftover so the kid and I had it on english muffins for breakfast the next day. I fully intend on making a batch of the filling just to use as a spread.

Fig Bars
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest
For the filling:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
To make the filling:
  1. Combine the figs, water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sauceapan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.
  2. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool.
To make the dough:
  1. Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg white and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and paddle again. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Place racks in middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down.
  4. Using a serrated knife, slice each log on the diagonal into 10 cookies. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

2