(Air date: March 24, 2016. Source: Chef John Folse.)
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 12 Servings
Palm Sunday has also been called “Fig Sunday” because Jesus longed to eat figs as he traveled to Jerusalem. Additionally, dates, of course, come from palm trees. This dish is a delicious way for us to pay homage to the last journey Jesus made to the holy city.
Ingredients for Filling:
1½ quarts Mamere’s Fig Preserve (see recipe below)
1½ quarts chopped dates
¾ cup chopped, toasted almonds, divided
1½ cups butter
¾ cup brandy
1¼ cups red grape juice
¾ cup chopped, toasted pistachios, divided
egg wash (2 large eggs beaten with 2 tbsps milk)
1 (17.3-ounce) package puff pastry sheets, thawed in refrigerator overnight
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 12 (6-ounce) ceramic ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray. In a 4-quart saucepot over medium heat, add fig preserve, dates and butter, stirring gently until butter is melted. Remove pot from heat and stir in brandy and grape juice. Return pot to medium heat and allow mixture to cook until most moisture has evaporated, stirring often. Remove from heat. Place ½ cup of mixture into each prepared ramekin or cup then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon toasted almonds and 1 tablespoon toasted pistachios. Using a pastry brush, coat the rim of each cup with egg wash. With a circle cutter or a paring knife, cut 12 circles from puff pastry sheets, making sure the diameter of the cut pastry dough is at least ½ inch larger than the tops of the cups. Cover the top of each ramekin with a circle of dough and press the overlap against the sides of rim of the cup. Brush the top of each dough circle with remaining egg wash, taking care not to drip egg wash onto cup. Bake 12–14 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove cobblers from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
MAMERE’S FIG PRESERVE
Prep Time: 3 Hours
Yields: 2 Quarts
No fruit, wild or store bought, has been preserved in Louisiana more often than figs. My grandmother was an expert at preserving figs, and I can't remember a day that a jar of her specialty wasn't sitting in the center of our kitchen table.
1 gallon figs
12 cups sugar
4 lemon slices
Sort figs and remove any that are overripe or blemished. Wash figs well under cold running water. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat then carefully drop in figs. Remove from heat and allow to stand 3 minutes. Quickly remove figs and drain. The hot water will help set color in fruit. In a 2-gallon, heavy-bottomed saucepot, combine sugar and 1 quart water then bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and syrup is formed. Add lemon slices then gently place figs into boiling liquid. Reduce heat to medium and cook figs 2½ hours or until transparent. Shake pot gently during cooking process. Do not stir as it will mash fruit. Using a slotted spoon, transfer figs into hot, sterilized jars then top with syrup, leaving ¼ inch headspace in jars. Wipe syrup from rims then seal tightly with lids. Place jars in a hot water bath and simmer approximately 10 minutes. Remove, cool, label and store for later use. NOTE: Figs may be left overnight in syrup to plump prior to packing into jars. Should you decide to do so, fill jars with fruit and syrup, seal and place in a boiling water bath approximately 20 minutes.