September Grass

“Oh, september grass is the sweetest kind
It goes down easy like apple wine
Hope you don’t mind if I pour you some
Made that much sweeter by the winter to come “

– James Taylor

September has been a lovely and busy month for us.  Our move in August resulted in a desire to try to relax a bit, enjoy settling into our new digs and take advantage of the prettiest month of the year.

We enjoyed a cool afternoon in Duxbury, MA at the Island Creek Oyster Festival.

I made this Cardamom Spice Cake with Homemade Marmalade and Orange Blossom Butter Cream for a wedding in Madison, CT.

We went apple picking with my mom at Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA.

Over the summer I did some recipe development for Le Creuset cookware.  They sent me a bunch of cookware, including a 9×9 red ceramic baking dish.  I used the pan to make some outrageous fig crumble bars.  Saturday would have been my Dad’s 56th birthday.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to see me become a baker or taste any of my creations.  Every year I always think about what I would have made him…this year it would have been these fig bars!!  As I have told you before, he was a big fan of Fig Newtons and anything with spices and dried fruit.  This recipe was perfect for both loving memories and my new baking dish.  The bars are very appropriate for the fall season and would be delicious served with vanilla or ginger ice cream.

Spiced Fig Jam Crumble Bars

adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Fig Jam

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup ruby port
12 ounces dried  figs, stems removed cut in half
tiny pinch of salt

Simmer all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  I cover it so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate.  Cook until plump and rehydrated, about 15 min.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Remove whole spices and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse till smooth.  If it seems too thick and stiff, you can pulse with a few table spoons of water.

For the Crust

1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups plus whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 9 or 8-inch square baking pan; line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang.

In a food processor, pulse together 2 cups flour and 1 cup sugar. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, I actually had to process for a good minute till it started to come together. Transfer half of mixture to prepared pan press firmly into bottom.  Spread fig jam over the crust evenly with a spoon or offset spatula.   Shape remaining mixture into large, moist clumps and scatter over the tip of the jam. Bake until topping is golden brown, 45 – 50 minutes.

Let cool completely in the pan.  Remove bars by lifting edges of parchment paper.  Using a large knife cut into squares.

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1 Comment

  1. Kate

     /  September 26, 2011

    all so lovely!!! xoxo

    Reply

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