Sunday, August 03, 2008

Fresh Fig, Mascarpone, and Pesto Torte (Page 17)


  • Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008 -- 5pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Scarecrow, Paps, Grant, Russ, Juice, Mitch, and Alex P.
  • Recipe Rating: B

I chose to make this torte for the bachelor party last weekend because it is one that needs to be made for a big group of hungry people. In fact, it would have been more suitable to a larger party, but figs are in season now, and I wanted to get this recipe done while I had the chance. This layered torte is meant to be sliced thin and spread on bread. I toasted up some baguette slices spread with a bit of olive oil for the occasion and they were a great receptacle for this layered creation. To put this together I started by making the crust. It was a typical graham cracker-type crust, except with the graham crackers replaced by Wheat Thins and pine nuts. The crust was baked until just browned and then cooled. The first layer of filling was a combination of cream cheese, mascarpone or sour cream, and egg, beaten together well. That was topped with a layer of pesto and then a layer of sliced fresh figs. Over the figs went another layer of the cream cheese filling. The whole things was then baked for about an hour and then chilled for at least 3 hours, after which it was not-too-cute. Luckily, there were still more layers to go on! The next layer was fig preserves mixed with white wine vinegar. Finally, on top: fresh sliced figs. It was quite a creation. It was pretty in a way, but also a little intimidating-looking. I think everyone was a bit scared to try it. After people started eating it though, the reactions were fairly positive. The flavors were good together. Figs can be excellent with soft cheeses and the pesto gave the torte a nice savory, garlickyness to complement the sweetness from the figs. I liked it, but I wasn't crazy about it. It had a very cheesecake-like quality to it, and it seemed a bit weird to me to start a meal with a slice of fig-pesto cheesecake. That said, I enjoyed eating it. One thing that perhaps made me less awed by this recipe than I might have been is that I strongly prefer my usual sweet-savory fig and cheese appetizer to this one. For that I toast some baguette slices, spread them with a generous layer of good goat cheese followed by a dollop of fig preserves and topped with a thin slice of prosciutto. It is delicious, and very, very quick to put together. This recipe was not as delicious as that and fussier, but still tasty. And although I won't make it again, I had no serious problems with it.

Here is the recipe.

Wedding season has begun! Yesterday I attended the first of three weddings that I am going to this month. It was an unusual situation since I had never met the bride and had met the groom only once, probably about 5 years ago. You might guess that these are friends of my special gentleman then, but no, he doesn't know them either, and he wasn't even there! Curious, no?

The groom of this wedding, however, is good friends with a good friend of mine who was not feeling like going to this wedding alone. Since my special gentleman was off at another bachelor party this weekend, I volunteered to be my friend's fake date. What is it they say? When the cat's away, the mice will play! (Or in this case, the mice will attend the wedding of strangers!) Anyway, I love weddings, and this one was very unique. The ceremony was in a tiny little Quaker meeting house built in 1800. The building was really cool -- instead of all facing the front, there were wooden benches that faced towards the middle. The ceremony was non-religious with a lot of poetry read and music played. It was very nice. Afterwards, dinner at a winery. Wedding food is typically pretty awful, but this was an exception. The food was very good, which was exciting because I was starving! I had more than my share of mushroom risotto! My fake date found it completely incomprehensible that I was having such fun at a wedding where I didn't know anyone (including the people getting married), but I really do just love weddings. Obviously it is more personally meaningful if you actually know the bride and the groom, but even if you don't, weddings are a wonderful celebration of love, commitment, and bravery! Plus, people are typically in good spirits (in this case especially so because there was an open bar!) and having fun.

Next weekend is a wedding I am REALLY looking forward to: Vero and Philippe and typing the knot!


Magdalen said...

There is a little-known statute pertaining to a similar situation: The Federal Nuptial Reciprocity Act, which requires that people invited to a wedding reciprocate if possible. My husband and I got married in North Yorkshire at Fountains Abbey, and were able to include friends of ours who were going to be in Portugal the weekend before the wedding. We were thrilled to have them share our day with us, but we were a bit startled when they arranged to have us invited to their daughter's wedding a couple months later. Didn't know either bride or groom, nor anyone other than the mother- (and step-father-) of-the-bride.

But I completely agree -- weddings are lovely and fun even if you know no one. And the food was pretty good at the wedding we attended too.

vero said...

We can't wait to have you here with us as well! (I can't believe it's so close to our wedding.)

Teena said...

Yeah I was trying to explain said Reciprocity Act to my special gentleman the other day, who said that if he ever got married he wanted to have a small wedding. He has been to SO many weddings in the last few years though, that even if he only invited those people who invited him, his wedding would already be big!