Move over figgy pudding, there is a new dessert in town. This Napoleon style Christmas Tree tower dessert is made by stacking sugared crusts with glazed figs & pistachios and eggnog whipped cream. This is just my sort of dessert, you see my fave part of pie is the crust, and it is a focal point here. This holiday dessert makes an interesting presentation, and is sweet but not cloyingly so, as too many are. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, I would just drizzle a little honey over it, I’d planned to do that myself, but decided it wasn’t necessary for me. This “pie” has lots of textural interest and variation, and the components can be prepared ahead of time and assembled while guests are starting with coffee.
The crust I used is an interesting recipe that I had been dying to try for quite some time. I have always used a combination of butter and shortening when making my pie crusts, with excellent results, but hydrogenated fats are something I am trying to reduce in my cooking. Here I used a pie crust recipe from a peach hand pie recipe Cooking Light published in the spring, that uses vodka with the butter, rather than shortening to boost flakiness. The results were not quite as flakey as my old recipe, but overall the quality was certainly better than a store bought crust. The only thing is, in the way I prepared it here, the baking time was reduced due to the lack of filling, so all of the vodka didn’t fully cook-off… it will give you a buzz (not that I’m complaining mind you…lol). If used in a typical pie this would probably not be an issue, and the flakiness may even be increased. Either that or add a little bourbon or brandy to the figs and you have a “dessert cocktail”.
The Eggnog Whipped Cream is the same recipe I featured here recently. Of course standard whipped cream could be substituted, but that wouldn’t be as festive, now would it. The figs are semi-rehydrated in the glazing process, leaving them softer than dried, but still a little chewy. As far as the pistachios, I shelled the salted in in shell type, to add just a hint of salt to the dessert & extra crunch.
- pie crustdough
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs. of milk or cream
- raw cane sugar
- eggnog whipped cream
- 1/4 cup Shelled Pistachios cracked
- 1 1/2 cups dried figs
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tbs sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut out stars, squares or circles of the dough in steadily diminishing size (cutter sets are sold like this).
- Beat the egg and milk together and baste the tops of the crusts with it, then generously sprinkle with the raw sugar.
- Bake on parchment for approximately 12 minutes. Set on racks to cool.
- Add ingredients to pan and cook over medium heat until figs are softened and liquid has thickened to loose syrup (will thicken more with cooling)
- Prepare whipped cream.
- Place largest crust cut out on plate, and arrange 5-6 figs on it, sprinkle on a few pistachios, and top with some whipped cream. Repeat with steadily smaller crusts. Using fewer figs in upper layers due to smaller size. Top with a nice fig. and sprinkle last of pistachios over top.