October Dessert Swap!

It's been awhile since I've participated in the monthly dessert swap friends of LTHForum hosts. In fact, the last time was back in May! With these dessert swaps, friends get together and bring a dessert to share. Everyone helps themselves to the buffet of sweets and takes them home to indulge. It's a great way to try some new and interesting desserts that you may not make yourself or even thought of trying.

This month, our dessert swap was hosted by Molly of Fig Catering. Molly grew up in a restaurant owning family and worked as a personal chef. She now partners with Justin Hall and handles the desserts and other sweets of the business. To whet our appetites before the desserts, Molly prepared a delicious pot pie and a tasty green bean and asparagus salad.

I loved how Molly prepared the pot pie on the stove, versus baking in the oven. A large pot of savory chicken pot pie filling was ladled into our bowls and topped with a buttery biscuit. It worked perfectly to serve 8 sweet toothed friends!

Chicken Pot Pie

To pair with our individual pot pies, Molly also prepared a beautiful Asparagus and Green Bean salad. I loved how strikingly fresh and green the salad was! It was topped with a heavy hand of parmesan cheese and toasted hazelnuts.

Asparagus Green Bean Salad

So let's get down to business, shall we? I love these swaps because the table is graced with so many delicious sweets and I tend to learn some new things every time...

Pucca's Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars
These pumpkin and gingerbread bars were delicious! I don't believe I've had pumpkin and gingerbread together in any application, but the combination really tasted like fall. They were moist and so flavorful, where I could taste a nice balance of both the pumpkin and gingerbread flavors.

Molly's Steamed Gingerbread Pudding
with bourbon sauce (not pictured)
Molly's steamed gingerbread pudding was so perfectly moist and the addition of her bourbon sauce was a delicious compliment. I'm going to have to try making steamed puddings just so I can enjoy that wonderful texture.

Carrie's Baba au Rhum

with freshly whipped cream (not pictured)
Have you had a Baba au Rhum before? A baba au rhum (or baba au Savarin) is a yeast dough baked in a ring mold or bundt pan that's been soaked in rum syrup. European countries have a similar dessert made with dried fruit, but this one has none and is served without any filling. Carrie also prepared freshly whipped cream to garnish our slices of cake. I loved how the flavor of rum was in every bite!

Wendy's Poached Pears

topped with Caramel & Peanuts
One thing I love, especially in the fall, is caramel. Wendy went all out with her dessert of poached pears. After poaching the pears in water and sugar, she placed them on a platter and drizzled warm, buttery caramel over the top and sprinkled toasted peanuts. The soft texture of the pears combined with the creamy caramel and crunchy peanuts was fantastic!

Maureen's Chocolate Covered Apples

inspired by Vosges Chocolates
One of my favorite aspects of these dessert swaps is seeing the culinary creativity come out in each of us. Maureen outdid herself and made some of the most creative candied apples I've ever had. Vosges is a popular chocolate boutique here in Chicago (and a few other locations around the world) that's known for some unique flavor combinations. Wasabi & chocolate, yellow curry and chocolate, chile and chocolate... these are just some of the combos that Vosges are known for. Well Maureen took these chocolate combinations and applied them to chocolate covered apples. For the swap, she mimicked the Vosges flavors and coated apples with these delicious chocolate flavors including:
- Woolloomooloo: roasted/salted macadamia nuts & coconut
- Naga: Indian curry & milk chocolate
- Black Pearl: wasabi, ginger, black sesame seeds & dark chocolate
- Oaxaca: guajillo/pasilla chillies & dark chocolate

Eli's Crabapple Jelly Kolachy
Eli has a great eye for opportunity. He harvested some crabapples from urban trees and with them, he made this fantastic crabapple jelly. Totally impressive, since I'm oblivious to crabapple trees to begin with, much less thinking about turning them into jelly! With the jelly, he made these delicate and light crabapple jelly kolachy. The flavor of crabapple is not quite appley but very distinct. If you have crabapples near you, you should consider turning them to jelly!

Molly's Black Fig Ice Cream
Our hostess spoiled us once again with another sweet treat - ice cream! Sure, it's October but how can you resist an ice cream made with black mission figs? I've grown to love figs and it was delicious to try it in an ice cream. This just goes to show that ice cream great any time of year, and this fig ice cream was a fabulous way to take advantage of fig season!

Joelen's Calamansi Cupcakes
And then there's my Calamansi cupcakes. Not exactly fall but I hoped the orange tops would allow it to fit in. It was great to share a new fruit that not everyone was familiar with and to give them an opportunity to try it for the first time!

So that was our sweet filled evening of desserts and I'm already looking forward to next month! Stay tuned and if you're looking for a reason to get friends together, why not hold a dessert swap of your own?!

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