We are getting pretty excited about the Driftless Film Festival, which starts this Thursday. I thought it would be hard to top last year’s opening night, the magical Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I’m even more excited about the film opening this year’s festival: Of Some Fair Place. Of Some Fair Place is the story of the artists and artisans that saved Mineral Point from both figurative and literal decay. They bought and restored old buildings in the town, saving a precious part of Wisconsin’s history and bringing new life and energy to the community and the economy.
Eve Studnicka, the filmmaker, is the child of two Mineral Point artists, and her grandparents were among those that bought and restored the crumbling buildings in town. If you don’t know Eve, by the way, meeting her is reason enough to come to the screening. She’s an old soul if I’ve ever met one, and I can still hardy believe she’s barely even a college freshman (studying filmmaking at Columbia College in Chicago). She’s a great example of the new generation of creative people who grew up influenced by the Mineral Point dreamed up by the subjects of Of Some Fair Place. To read of Eve’s thoughts on the documentary, check out the November Voice of the River Valley.
Eve recently stopped by our house to talk about her film and to make figgyhobbin with Leslie:
The figgyhobbin is a Cornish pastry similar to mince pie. Eve thought it might be a fun dish to make in honor of Mineral Point’s Cornish background. The traditional recipe uses beef suet, lard, shortening for the pastry, raisins for the filling, a little coat of milk on top plus a sprinkling of sugar. One place that sparks the interest of visitors to this curious dessert is The Red Rooster café on Mineral Point’s High Street where every staff member proudly wear shirts with the word printed on it. In fact, it is the only place that Eve and I have ever tried this dessert. Their version is bit richer as it is served with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
I decided that we should have some fun and create our own variations. We are both big fans of butter so we used that to make the pastry. Eve went toward the more traditional filling of raisins, cinnamon, and a bit of roasted pecans for flavor and texture. I made mine with dates, pecans, and blood orange preserve. To make the caramel sauce sing a bit more, we added a reduction of fresh apple cider.
- 1/2 c. apple cider
Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced down to half of the original amount.
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 4. T. salted butter
- 1/4 c. apple cider reduction
Put the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the cider last. Set aside then put it into a jar. You will have a lot extra for later use.
- 2 c. flour
- 2 and 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/3 c. butter
- 3/4 c. milk
Work the butter into the flour with your fingers or a fork until most of the flour is incorporated. Add the milk to help bind everything together. Knead for 2-3 minutes and form into a ball. Cut in half and form two balls. Roll out the dough into two ovals. The pastry should be about 1/4 of an inch thick.
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 c. chopped dates
- 1/2 c. chopped pecans
- 1 T. orange preserve
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
Place the along the center of the oval then press the ingredients into the pastry with a rolling pin. Drizzle with a bit of the caramel sauce. Fold the pastry over to cover the filling. You should have two rectangular shaped pies. Score the top and brush with an egg and water mixture. Have a bit of fun and decorate your pastries. We sprinkled poppyseed and cutout some flowers from excess dough. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. Cut, serve, and enjoy as soon as possible.
Keith joined us for the best part. We drank tea and enjoyed our figgyhobbin with extra caramel sauce along with scoops of vanilla and pistachio gelati. It was a great time.
See you at the movies this weekend!
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