Tuesday, September 13, 2011

beauty is only skin deep

The other day I was grocery shopping, and they just happened to have figs on sale--by one get one free. Since I had never eaten a fresh fig in my life, I thought heck, I may as well give it a go. So I bought two tubs of black mission figs and went my merry way home.

I cut one open. I smelled it. I ate it. I was...underwhelmed. 

"But it's so pretty!" my mind exclaimed, as if prettiness equals yumminess. Upwards of ten horrific Martha Stewart recipes should have taught me that lesson already. But I was determined. I had to make something of these figs OR ELSE. So I browsed and I Googled and I came across a site with a recipe for fig tart that sounded delicious and guaranteed that even the staunchest fig-hater would be won over by this sumptuous dessert. It also guaranteed that the pie-dough recipe would turn even the most proven pie-ruiner into a pie-crust master. I proceeded with optimism. 

After the pie-dough had been beat into submission and rolled into an acceptably thin crust, and I'd spread the frangiapane over the dough, I started cutting up the figs. 

See? They just look so yummy. 
After they were cut I started lining them up on the tart crust in a circular pattern, which gave me this pretty but slightly alien looking tart.

Then this bizarre creation was popped into the oven for 45 minutes, and came out a beautiful rich purple and brown. It only exacerbated my desire for it to just be fall already.

Doesn't it look amazing? I mean really, I think I might have done a happy dance when this came out of the oven. 

And then I tried a piece. And then that piece was swallowed against my better judgment. I did not repeat that mistake. Talk about a beautiful disaster. This was quite possibly the grossest dessert I've ever had the misfortune to attempt to eat. Even my kids wouldn't eat it, which is saying something because I've heard them say on many occasions "I just LOVE sugar!!!"

To the guarantor of this recipe I would like to say: Ew. Also: I want my two hours back, thank you very much.

On a positive note, I have to say this was the first time in my life I've ever made a successful pie-crust, so it wasn't a total loss. I'll definitely be using that one again. 

So how about you? Ever made something that looked impressive but tasted terrible? (If you work for Martha Stewart, you can't answer because I'm afraid that would be cheating.)


blessedby5 said...

Wow my week is going great! 3 in a row, now I am doing the happy dance:-)
And I guess an apple cupcake I tried that totally stunk,eatable but not at all enjoyable:-(

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts said...

Oh this post made me laugh. And such a shame it was so terrible because it sure was pretty.

Once I made chicken noodle soup from scratch- followed this very martha stewartesque recipe to the T, boiled the whole bird, etc. and after several hours of work (not to mention a large grocery bill) I had chicken water. ICK.
Won't be making that again! :)

Terri said...

I have never eaten a fresh fig, but I do like the little dried figs. Very sweet and chewy.

Your tart IS beautiful. Make some more of that crust and fill it up with something yummy.

Lynz said...

I don't cook much (apart from tea - as in our evening meal) so haven't really had anything like this. I'd have been gutted too, though. It looks fantastic!!

WAIT! There were those hazelnut cupcakes. Looked great, smelled great, could have used 'em as doorstops! And one thing I CAN bake is cupcakes.

Jenny said...

The tart is gorgeous! So glad you took pictures. I've had some good figs. Good ones usually cost a lot.

I've never made anything that gorgeous that tasted terrible. I more cook the most amazing tasting - strange looking things. Looks so bad it looks like someone already ate it.

rachel.lyn said...

hahahaha...i literally just laughed out loud! i almost bought some the other day when i saw that but just couldn't do it. i figured i've always hated fig newtons...why would i like a real fig?

i was browsing through the new Martha Stewart halloween magazine last night and came across a recipe called, "Drenched Figs with Port & Honey" and it looked so yummy that I considered going back to get some figs this week....now I think I'll just pass ;) haha

oh...and bad desserts? how about that basil/blackberry cobbler recipe thing you convinced me to make....THAT WAS WEIRD.

Andrea said...

I love figs! where I live now not grow cold

Leanne said...

I have two fig trees at my cottage. A fresh fig off either tree is one of the most wonderful thing I have ever eaten. They are sweet but not cloying - just perfect. Mine have green skins, not purple. So I hope you won't give up on trying fresh figs again sometime.

Meg said...

Oh Jenn, that's so sad! I actually like fresh figs, but getting good ripe ones can be a bit of a trick. Don't ask me what that trick is--I don't think I've ever had much luck getting them here in the US!

As for disaster? Usually I do ok in the kitchen, but the one time I ran short of zucchini while making zucchini bread and added in some yellow summer squash to make up the difference? Note to self: DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN! Bitter, falling apart, disgusting mess. Ugh!

Amy Seven-Stitches said...

I'm with you on the figs. I was so sure that I should like them but in reality, YUCK!

SoFarBlue said...

I am not a fig expert, but I have spent my childhood holidays in a fig-tree (yes, a big one). I have to say that the close-up of your cut figs, though very nice in terms of colour, does not look appetizing! Figs, with a clean cut through them? Hum... should they not be soft, dark and sticky?
Don't give up on fresh figs yet!
And I've also had good looking culinary disasters. Very hard to admit to failure in that case I find...

Rachel Hauser said...

I LOVE this post. Dirty secret - we had a HUGE, thriving fig tree on this property, but we CUT IT DOWN. Because we hate figs. That was really wrong and nasty, I know. Who throws away a source of food?

But, now we have "real" fruit trees planted there. Next year.. maybe real fruit too.

BermudaBlueQuilts said...

I like my figs dryed with brie... My first attempt at a Red Velvet cake was just ugly... but I did try again and now it's a family fav... To judge on sight, you made a masterpiece!!