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Again With The Farm Animals

If you’re eating a BLT right now, please put it down.  If you’re stirring your bloody mary with a piece of candied bacon, you should stop.  First of all, it’s like. . . dinnertime on a Monday.  Check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Second of all, we’re going on a bacon hiatus around here.

Because I have a new friend.

Her name is Cupcake.  My friend Natasha bought Cupcake on Craigslist.  Because Natasha is awesome.  Does Natasha sell her ratty old furniture on Craigslist?  No.  Does she answer creepy personal ads on Craigslist?  No.  But does she get in her car and drive to Walmart because a dude said he’d be waiting in the parking lot with extra piglets?  Yes.  Yes she does.

Natasha can do that sort of thing because she has a farm.  It’s called 1818 Farms.  And someday Natasha’s going to wake up and find me making waffles in her kitchen in my nightgown– because I want to live there so badly that I might just move in and hope she doesn’t say anything.

She has real sheep that let you hug them.

And miniature goats that are extremely polite and don’t even try to eat your pants!

The goats love Cupcake.  Take this one, for example.  She’s basically using her ear to keep the sun out of Cupcake’s eyes.

Cupcake is extremely well-behaved, too.  For example, when she gets dirty she hops into the dog’s water bowl and takes a bath.

But the best part of Cupcake’s day is playing with Natasha’s dog.  And the best part of my day was finding out that Scott videotaped it.

~~~

Making fig jam and then stuffing it in some brie was a pretty good part of my day, too.

I don’t can stuff.  I want to, but I haven’t learned how yet.  So this jam is the quick kind that you have to keep in your fridge and eat pretty soon after you make it.

One way to enjoy it is with cheese.  Say, spooned over a wheel of brie, wrapped in puff pastry, and baked until it’s golden and flaky on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside.

Baked brie is really easy to make, but it’s one of those things that looks and tastes like it costs big money.

All you need is a wheel of cheap brie, a sheet or two of puff pastry, and any jam you want.

Also, bread.  You’re going to need bread because we’re trying to keep this classy, people.  Buy the bread, even you plan to shove spoonfuls of this stuff in your mouth when no one’s looking.

Here are the recipes: first the fig jam, and second the baked brie (which you can use any jam for).

Figgy Refrigerator Jam {Download & Print Recipe}

Adapted from the lovely Lindsay & Taylor at Love & Olive Oil, who adapted from PickYourOwn.org

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh, ripe figs (I used black mission figs)

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. lemon juice

3/4-1 c. sugar

1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions

Rinse the figs, remove the stems and any blemishes, and chop them roughly into quarters or sixths.  In a skillet, combine the water, lemon juice and figs and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Add 3/4 c. sugar, stirring well, and bring to a strong boil (one where you can’t make the bubbles go away by stirring).  Add 1 tbsp. of the balsamic vinegar and boil, stirring, for a minute.  Taste it (careful, since it’s hot).  If you’d like to add more vinegar or sugar, add it now.  Boil for another minute at a strong boil.  Carefully transfer the jam to a mason jar or heat-proof bowl and let cool on the counter.  Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.

Important Note: This is not a recipe for canned jam that will keep if you store it on the shelf.  This is just a quick jam that must be kept in the refrigerator and eaten in short order.  I’m not a food scientist, so use your judgment about how long it will keep in the refrigerator.  Don’t take my word for it, but I plan to eat mine within the week.

~~~

Figgy Baked Brie {Download & Print Recipe}

Ingredients:

1 wheel brie, placed in the freezer for 15 minutes before beginning the recipe

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

3+ heaping Tbsp. jam (such as the figgy jam above)

1 egg mixed with 2 Tbsp. water (i.e. egg wash)

bread (optional, for eating with it)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1.  Stuff the brie

Place the brie on a cutting board and cut it from the side into two thinner wheels (i.e., don’t cut it in half into two moons).

Place 1 heaping Tbsp. of the jam on the cut (non-rind) side of one of the wheels.  Place the other wheel on top of the jam, rind-up, so you’ve made a sandwich.

2.  Wrap the brie

There are at least two ways to do this.  Either way, my brie always seeps out of the pastry and pools a little in the skillet.  It still tastes great; it’s just a little messy when it comes to presentation.

  1. Put 2 Tbsp. of jam the the middle of the pastry sheet and place the stuffed brie on top of it.  Then pull the pastry sheet up and over the top.  Cut away excess pastry, leaving just enough so the edges overlap enough to seal the package (like you’re wrapping a present).   Brush the edges with egg wash and pinch them together to form a seam.  Flip the brie over and place seam-side down in an oven-proof skillet.
  2. Alternatively, you can make the seam on the side of the brie.  To do this, cut a pastry sheet into a circle that is bigger than the brie by 1 1/2 inches (i.e. it leaves a 1 1/2 inch border around the brie.)  Repeat with a second pastry sheet so you have two identical circles.  Place the stuffed brie on one of the pastry circles.  Put 2 Tbsp. of jam on top of the stuffed brie, and then drape the remaining pastry circle on top.  Working around the wheel, fold part of the bottom pastry circle up and brush the exposed surface with the egg wash.  Fold the top pastry circle down onto the egg washed surface and pinch together to seal.   Place it in an oven-proof skillet.

3. Bake the brie

Place the pastry in an oven-proof skillet as directed above.  Don’t use a baking sheet, because the brie will likely seep out of the pastry and you need a pan with sides to catch it.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash.

You can make leaves or other designs with the pastry scraps and place them on top, just be sure to brush egg wash on them, too.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and browned.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve with bread.

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91 Comments Post a comment
  1. OK, I love Cupcake. And that video is amazing. I’m pretty sure the pup wants some bacon for a while at the beginning, but in the end, it’s all “I submit, I submit!” Awesome. And, um, can you come on over and bring a wheel of cheese, figs & bread? YUM. Preggo lady wants cheese!

    September 24, 2012
    • I would love to have a fig & cheese party with you! How fun. You have to make sure that your little one becomes a lover of figs and cheese and bread, okay?

      October 2, 2012
  2. My favourite piggy quote comes from Winston Churchill. This is dedicated to Cupcake: “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

    September 24, 2012
    • That is fantastic. Here’s another one that I’ve always liked–I think it’s Hemingway, from A Movable Feast: “I am like a blind pig when I write.”

      October 2, 2012
  3. That is the teeniest weeniest cuties little piggie I’ve ever seen! eeeeeee!

    September 24, 2012
    • I know. We were there for HOURS, because we couldn’t tear ourselves away. It had a waggley tail for crying out loud!!

      October 2, 2012
  4. juanitascocina #

    I need a farm. And fig jam. That is all I need to reach true happiness in my life.

    September 24, 2012
    • I want a farm, too. Plus or minus a fig tree on the property. . .

      October 2, 2012
      • BrandDGarrett #

        I am forever trying to talk my husband into a farm. He refuses. He’s mean. (He’s a Scott too.) Actually, he knows I’ll start everything and then it will all be on him once I lose interest. It’s probably a good thing he won’t let me buy any livestock.

        October 3, 2012
  5. Oh dear me…

    This creates *quite* a dilemma b/c I have plans to go to the County Fair this weekend and purchase a pig. *Not* as a playmate for my dogs, either!

    I guess I’ll have to try *real* hard not to think of Cupcake while I’m enjoying my fresh, humanely raised bacon, and ham, and sausages, and pork-chops, and roasts and OMG…. (Salivating as I think about it)

    Nooo! NOT Cupcake, k?!!

    P.S. If you check out my blog, under the sub-heading of “We Be Jammin'” I’ve posted a bunch of recipes for making jam. The older posts are very much “step-by-step” with pictures and stuff (and a whole lot of “rambling!”). Jam-making really is surprisingly easy (and – Warning: Addictive!)

    P.P.S. The fig jam + pastry-wrapped brie sounds SINFUL! Can’t wait to try it!

    September 24, 2012
    • Your jam recipes look fantastic. Also, I feel morally obligated to tell you that I ate a LOT of delicious bbq pork this weekend. So don’t feel bad over there.

      October 15, 2012
  6. I put down my bacon. Following this post I may never eat bacon again. Cupcake is adorable!!! I want a pig now. Like right now. Can I raise a pig in NYC? No? Hmmm… Fig jam is awesome. I keep trying to make fig jam, but I eat all the figs. No shame… Tis my life…

    September 24, 2012
    • If you manage to raise a pig in NYC, I bet you the New York Times style section will write all about you.

      October 15, 2012
  7. Amy #

    OH MY GOD I WANT A PIG!!!!!!!!!! Cupcake is so freaking cute. And that video?!?!?! Holy crap…forget puppydogs and babies, they should use piglets+dogs to sell things.

    And this recipe looks really good. I’m SO glad you didn’t put any bacon in there although it probably would have been tasty.

    September 24, 2012
    • Man, you’re right. A layer of crispy bacon in the middle of the cheese (or maybe a bacon-wrapped brie?) would have been killer.

      October 15, 2012
  8. Ginger Cobl #

    I thought you’d love her farm! See and I was right about the pig we could have stuffed her in a purse! Can’t wait to see what you do with the pumpkins!

    September 24, 2012
    • I’m so so glad you brought me there, Ginger! What fun that was.

      October 15, 2012
  9. MrsH #

    Okay, not that I’m judging, but why didn’t you post this a day sooner? I totally made baked brie with jam for a party that I went to yesterday, though we used crackers instead of bread (how much filler do you need? Melty cheese and warm jam are the real stars). I could have used homemade fig jam, if only someone had mentioned it. Seriously though? I think this is just proof that I should make it again… for dinner… tonight. 🙂

    September 24, 2012
    • Mrs. H., I bet your baked brie was delicious. What kind of jam did you use? I think of all the jams in the world, my favorite is apricot. I haven’t had it in ages, so I guess I have an excuse to make this again soon, too!

      October 15, 2012
  10. Mallory #

    I honestly need to know how you write all the things I say regularly, e.g. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Which is incongruous with a mother of a 6 year old who grew up in a suburban enclave and went to a Catholic university, for example.

    Regardless, Cupcake = TDF (but not in a ‘die so I can eat more bacon’ sort of way, of course), and I can attest that people think you are a guru when you make baked brie, and they will let your sad attempts at jingoism slide as a result. Comes in hand.

    September 24, 2012
    • Mallory, I don’t know how I picked that up either, as I haven’t lived a very street-smart, or even socially-aware, life. I find it’s best to immediately leave the room after dropping a phrase like this, so I don’t hear the ensuing conversation or witness anyone exchanging looks. 🙂

      October 15, 2012
  11. Jen #

    I’ve had a somewhat awful day, but that video and the pictures of Cupcake made my day SO much better! (Also, baked brie…mmm!)

    September 24, 2012
    • Oh Jen, I’m sorry you had a bad day. I hope things are better now. If it helps: Cupcake would probably wag his little pig tail at you if he saw you.

      October 15, 2012
  12. musingmar #

    You simply can’t go wrong with cute farm animals and a delectable fig jam!

    September 24, 2012
    • Aren’t they just adorable?!

      October 15, 2012
  13. a #

    Today, my daughter asked if they only used boy pigs for food (we were having pork for dinner). We ended up with a brief discussion of how she doesn’t have to eat meat if she doesn’t want to, but I will continue because it’s delicious.

    Pet pigs aren’t for eating, though…

    September 24, 2012
  14. Stephanie #

    I was just saying to my husband the other day that I needed to start drinking more cocktails and eating more brie. I served regular (not baked) brie with jam preserves last Christmas and couldn’t get enough of it. I can’t wait to try this recipe out! And I’m totally on the mini pig bandwagon. Saw some at the state fair last year, and I was absolutely enchanted. Seriously. Enchanted.

    September 24, 2012
    • Stephanie, I didn’t make it to the state fair this year but I really wanted to go because they had a PIGLET RACE. The piglets had little jerseys on, with their numbers. I would have freaked out if I’d seen it!

      October 15, 2012
  15. Mary #

    Cupcake is ruthless. I LOVE the video. I am also totally making this on Saturday. I’ve always wanted to make baked brie. I hope its as easy as you make it seem.

    September 24, 2012
    • Mary, it is indeed easy if you just forgive yourself for any brie that leaks out the bottom/side of the pastry. But hopefully you’ll be better than I was at folding the pastry around the cheese!

      October 15, 2012
  16. So is that cute little piggy going to stay small or grow ginormous? I’ve got to confess I’ve been researching piglets myself… but I’ll also have to admit more of the heritage variety like a Tamworth that actually is know for it’s great bacon. I am horrible. I really don’t know if I could follow through with it. They are so damn cute.
    I love that last pic. The cheese is posing.
    All of it..so delicious.

    September 24, 2012
    • Wendy, they are actually not sure if it’s going to grow or not! The farmer who sold them the pig said it was a pot-bellied miniature pig, but they thought he might just have been saying that. So far, he has only outgrown the shoe box that he sleeps in at night. I saw a picture of him a week or so ago, and he still looks pretty small to me!

      October 15, 2012
  17. Nutmeg #

    wow, that might be the cutest video I’ve seen in a long time! Love the piggy & her adorable name!

    September 24, 2012
    • Isn’t it precious? Natasha’s daughter came up with the name “cupcake.” Fits pretty well, somehow!

      September 25, 2012
  18. Oh, the adorableness!! We had a little black pig like that when I was a kid– I wish he never grew up. I love the playtime with that sweet dog. OH, I NEED A FARM!!!

    September 25, 2012
    • Ariana, when I was growing up my friend had a pig, too. It was enormous, though. We’d sit on it and play with it. It was really friendly. But it, too, grew up.

      October 15, 2012
  19. I laughed until I cried at Cupcake and Justice. What a sweet dog to let a tiny pig bully him around like that. Do you ever take your dogs out to the farm? Now *that’s* a video I’d pay to watch!
    And, for heaven’s sake, you’re food photography needs to be in Bon Appetite or Salivation Quarterly!

    September 25, 2012
    • Hi Sandy Sue! I haven’t taken the pups out there. . . I bet Seymour would try to eat the chickens (and then get beaten up by the chickens). Thunder, though, would get along swimmingly, I bet. She’d alternately nap with the sheep and headbutt with the goats!

      September 25, 2012
  20. Ohmygoodness; sooo cute! And that puff pastry dish is mouthwatering. I think I might want to move in with your friend too! 😀

    September 25, 2012
    • Good–there’s strength in numbers. The more of us who move in, the better–that way, maybe she’ll let us build an annex over her garage.

      September 25, 2012
  21. everything about this is great – humor, a cute pig, a cute pig playing with a beautiful dog, a great recipe, figs, cheese. and combined with the last post that was both funny and profound – keep ’em coming!

    September 25, 2012
    • Why thanks, my friend! I think the next post is going to be a disappointment unless I find a previously-undiscovered Robert Frost poem, or a baby pygmy elephant to video.

      September 25, 2012
  22. I adore baked brie with fig jam. And I must say, those sheep look much nicer than the snooty Scottish ones that ran away from you.

    September 25, 2012
    • I loved this comment, my friend, because after the Scotland experience we were overjoyed when Natasha said the sheep would be happy to be pet. We figured she must be joking. But they would come right up and smell your hands and let you throw your arms around them. I even saw a little kid LIE DOWN IN A HEAP OF THEM. They’re babydoll sheep, so a lot smaller than what Scott refers to as “the feral sheep they have in Scotland.” 🙂

      September 25, 2012
  23. ShutupShutupShutUP! THAT IS THE CUTEST little pig. I mean, I LOVE HIM. and that fig-cheese-amaze-balls concoction. I want it now.

    September 25, 2012
    • I LOVE HIM TOO!!! And guess what? HE FOLLOWS YOU AROUND. It’s amazing.

      September 25, 2012
  24. BrandDGarrett #

    oh dear god at the cuteness… I may be stalkerizing natasha’s farm as we speak…

    September 25, 2012
    • I know. I was told there’d be a little pig but nothing prepared me for that little one. HER TAIL WAGGED the entire time we were there. We just kept saying “Oh my God. Oh my God I can’t handle it. This is the cutest thing I ever saw.”

      September 25, 2012
  25. That pig is so freaking cute! I’m sorry for all the bacon I ever ate, and even more sorry for the bacon I will likely eat after today because I have no self control around delicious meats 😦

    September 25, 2012
    • Marina, I hear you. There’s ham in my fridge right now. I’m not sure this is going to work. . .

      September 25, 2012
  26. That does it. Absolutely. No question about it. I’m done with the pork thing. No more. Nada. Never again.

    September 25, 2012
    • Scott read what I said about a bacon hiatus and was like “WAIT, WHAT?!”

      September 25, 2012
      • And, get this, what are we having for dinner tonight? That my equivalent to your Scott is making out of the generosity of his heart?

        FARM-RAISED ORGANIC PORK CHOPS.

        This IS a quandry.

        September 25, 2012
  27. That pig is begging for a doggy-back ride. I’m laughing so hard at my desk right now I think tears are running down my leg.

    This may be my first comment – but I love your blog and have been following you for a while now!! I love your recipes and your shenanigans 😀

    September 25, 2012
    • Dude, “tears are running down my leg” is a hilarious thing to say. I’m so glad you stop by, Kayla!

      My favorite part of the video is where the pig tries really hard to get onto the dog’s back by his tail, but he can’t seem to pull himself up so he gives up and goes around the other side. He wants to get up there so badly!

      September 25, 2012
  28. Cam #

    OMG! Best. Video. Ever.

    I want a piglet & I’m pretty sure my dog wants a piglet playmate. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    September 25, 2012
    • Cam, I think everyone’s life would be better if you went ahead and got a piglet.

      Just sayin’.

      October 15, 2012
  29. I am in awe of the self-control you have – your food photography is amazing. After we’ve eaten “whatever” I’ll do a head slap and think, “Damn, I should have taken pictures!”

    Love the piggie and farm shots as well. Goats? For milk, lawn maintenance or meat? Just wondering… Nikki

    September 26, 2012
    • You know, I think the goats are just pets. I know they’re not meat, and I don’t think they’ve loaned them out to trim people’s yards. Some of them are boys, too, and they don’t have a dairy on the property, so I think they’re just for fun. Also, they only meant to get 2 or something, but the goats were were so cute that they kept getting more. 🙂

      October 15, 2012
  30. Oh wow, the video of the piglet? Best thing I’ve seen all day! ALL. DAY! Who knew piglets can jump like that? I officially need one. Pronto. My husband is going to kill me. You think they sell them on ebay?

    Love love love this blog. Just found it through Amelia’s, and am officially obsessed.

    September 26, 2012
    • Natasha, thanks for the kind note! I had no idea piglets could jump either. Or take responsibility for bathing themselves when they get dirty. Or sleep comfortably in a shoe box in the chicken coop. Who knew?!

      October 15, 2012
  31. Ah baked Brie… You make my heart sing. Looks so good!

    September 26, 2012
    • Right back at you with that blackberry, pear and honeyed goat cheese galette, my lady!

      October 15, 2012
  32. Seriously? This is the cutest story I’ve ever heard. I want a farm with huggable sheep and a piglet. And fig jam, duh.

    September 27, 2012
    • I bet if you started a farm with huggable sheep and a piglet, people would just BRING YOU fig jam all the time in exchange for getting to cuddle with your animals.

      October 15, 2012
  33. super cute piglet – if it stayed that size forever I might be tempted – but I don’t know if we could give up bacon – we eat a lot of pork in my household…. but there is no way I could eat an animal once I got to know it…

    September 28, 2012
    • Yeah, they have no idea how big that piglet is going to get, actually. Ha!

      October 15, 2012
  34. I’m just getting ready to head to school to write a theory exam, and then I see this.

    I LOVE FARM ANIMALS.

    Thank you for filling my brain with brie, pigs, and figs. Clearly, this will be a good day…

    October 1, 2012
    • How did we, as the group cheering you on for your theory exam, do on the test? Well, I hope? Or did you have to bring home your exam and get 2.0 to sign it for your teacher?

      October 15, 2012
      • 100% on my first two theory tests! Woot!!

        (And yes, 2.0 insists on signing all of my tests and assignments.)

        October 15, 2012
        • Yay! We got TWO A’s! This is huge. I’m so proud.

          October 15, 2012
  35. This looks delicious! And the photography is great!!!! If you don’t mind me asking, what setting do you use primarily when taking pictures? Thanks!!! ~ nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com

    October 27, 2012
    • Hi there! Well, I use a 50 mm lens for food because I usually want a shallow depth of field where not everything is in focus. I use a 150 mm lens for stuff like this, where I want more of the scene to be in focus. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I start with the aperture/shutter speed on automatic, and then I look at what I’m getting. If I want darker or lighter pictures, then I’ll start to fiddle around with the shutter speed, but I’m not very good with it AT ALL. Then I edit them in PicMonkey, which is available on the internet and is awesome for novices like me. I should learn how to use Photoshop or Lightroom, but so far I’ve been happy going at my own speed (slowly!) when it comes to photography.

      January 25, 2013
  36. Dana #

    HOW DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE SUCH GORGEOUS PICTURES!!! What is your secret? What camera do you use? Do you instagram them or something after? Seriously, if the whole baking thing doesn’t work out, you could be one of those people who takes pictures of babies sleeping in flower petals.

    November 24, 2012
    • Dana! I just saw your comment and realize that I just wrote most of the answer in the comment above. You are too kind–I am a total novice at photography. When it comes to food, I like it when only some of the scene is in focus, so I use a 50 mm lens for that stuff. Then I edit in PicMonkey, which is available on-line. You should play around with it–it’s super easy to use and really fun.

      I would love taking pictures of babies in flower petals. And puppies in blankets. And kittens in fields…

      January 25, 2013
  37. blowingoffsteamandmore #

    So I discovered you from Freshly Pressed and I am only 2 entries in and I know you are a keeper! So fun to read, awesome recipes and great pics. Thanks!

    December 2, 2012
    • How kind of you to say! This makes me happy.

      January 25, 2013
  38. That video is fantastic! And also, exactly what ^^^she ^^^ said. Looking forward to more!

    December 3, 2012
    • Thanks, Eryn! We got lucky with that video. It’s like the pig knew she had 30 seconds to be adorable, and she didn’t waste any time.

      January 25, 2013
  39. Ok. That’s it. I can no longer even speak in a grown up voice after watching that video. I mean, honestly. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!! (And obvs this recipe looks fab. BUT PIGLET!!!)

    January 24, 2013
    • That’s so true! Piglets are better discussed when speaking like a 5-year-old.

      January 25, 2013
  40. Anywhere Home #

    I now want a puppy and a piglette! And maybe a farm too 🙂

    January 25, 2013
    • Me too, Amanda. Every time I go over there, I come back with a new life plan and Scott’s like, “um….okay….so have you ever BEEN a farmer before or is this another NEW DREAM?”

      January 25, 2013
  41. I love figs! This brings me back to a time when I was a kid sitting in our fig tree in the back yard eating figs! Awesome post. And your pictures are amazing! Thanks for sharing your recipes!❀

    March 27, 2015
    • Oh I’m so jealous that you grew up with a fig tree. My brother just moved go a house that had a fig tree in the yard. I’ll have to ask him how they tasted this summer (or is it fall when they’re in season?)

      March 28, 2015
      • Summer! Then again I lived in California, it’s pretty much summer all the time! 😉

        March 28, 2015

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