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Chocolate Lavender

Last Monday was the 3rd installment of Heather’s Meatless Monday round-up.  It was for the letter D and in this case, D stood for dark chocolate.

And we missed it.

How could we miss the week that was using chocolate as the main ingredient?!?

We knew we had to make up for it this week, so we called out to our facebook friends to give us a little inspiration as to what we should make.  After all, we knew we had to do something pretty spectacular to make up for missing dark chocolate week!

One very devoted follower found a recipe for a dark chocolate tart that looked incredible, and so we set to work make our own Saucy Sister (aka-healthy) version.  We decided while we were at it, we might as well make it with gluten-free and vegan options because nobody is going to want to be left out of this one!

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On top of that, the weather is warming up quickly over here (woohoo!) so we decided in the spirit of summer, we would make this a no-bake creation, becuase who really wants to turn on their oven when it’s hot outside?

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You also might notice the sprigs of lavender on the top- that is no accident!  You see, we are in the midst of preparing our vegetable garden for another season, and we have purchased a number of herbs to plant in pots on the back porch.  One that we are particularly excited about is our lavender plant, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fresh summer herbs into our dishes!

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So we give you a No-Bake Chocolate Lavender tart.  The perfect way to start off a summer of baking dessert-making.  And yes, we realize that we failed to follow the rules and make something from one of the participants last week.  Heather, we are very sorry, but we just had to share this recipe!  And I guess we sort of used Laura’s chocolate-avocado idea, didn’t we?  That must count for something, right?

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If you don’t have lavender, you can leave it out and just add a little more water or sweetener, but it really makes this unique, so we highly recommend trying to get your hands on some!

And of course, head over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies to see what everyone else made this week!

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

2 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1 large avocado
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. hot water + 2 sprigs of lavender
dash of salt

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the oats and nuts and cocoa powder.  Blend for a couple of minutes until the oats and nuts are finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of dates left.  Add the water and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together and sticks together when punched between the fingers.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with wax paper.  Dump the crust mixture into the plate and press firmly, making sure to press some of the mixture up the sides as well.  Set aside.

Place the lavender in the 1/4 c. of hot water and allow to steep for several minutes.

In your food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and 2 tbsp of the lavender water.  The rest can either be discarded or kept used in something else.  Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Allow to set in the fridge for at least a couple hours before cutting.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of lavender if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had chocolate and lavender together?  What are some of your favourite chocolate desserts?  Are you planting a vegetable garden this year?

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We’re Baaaack! (And we Brought Chocolate)

Hi everybody! Long time no-see!

Some of you have probably been wondering where we’ve been the last few days, since it’s been a full week since we last posted, but we promise we haven’t suddenly given up blogging, and we have good reasons as to why we’ve been missing in action.  Well really, we have one reason, and it is that we’ve been crazy busy this past week!  Ok, so we realize that’s a somewhat lame excuse, but perhaps if we give you a run-down of our lives these last few days you’ll have a better understanding…

Tuesday: Exam #3 (nailed it, by the way ;))
Wednesday: Exam #4 (last exam of the year- hellooo summer!)
Thursday: Mini road trip to Toronto to celebrate a couple of birthdays with a chocolate-making party (yes, that happened- more on that later)
Friday: Mini road-trip home from Toronto then PACK. (We’re moving houses for the next school year- it’s amazing how much random and useless stuff you accumulate after only two years in a place!)
Saturday: Up super early to volunteer all day at a track meet, rush home and quickly pack up last-minute stuff, throw it in the van and rush home to baby sit.
Sunday: Spring cleaning/un-packing (read: gut all cupboards, closets, and bedroom, get rid of everything you don’t need/use/wear and then fill them all back up again with stuff from London house)

So, as you can see we’ve been a little pre-occupied with life these last few days- some of it boring, some fun, and some completely overwhelming and exhausting!  In fact, neither one of us has hardly been on our computers at all!  We’ve missed Simple Sunday, and Heather’s Meatless Monday (sorry, Heather…) but now that our lives are starting to settle down somewhat, we will be back to a more regular posting schedule.

And as a sort-of apology for our prolonged absence, we bring you chocolate!

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Chocolate pumpkin bread, to be more precise.  And yes, we know that making pumpkin bread this time of year is completely out of season.  The thing is, that if we didn’t tell you there was pumpkin in this loaf you would never know it!  So it’s really more like chocolate bread, and is chocolate ever out of season?  (The answer would be no, it is not)

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And while we’re on the topic of chocolate, we think that this is the perfect time to fill you in on the chocolate-making party we attended in Toronto.  (Pretty good segue, don’t cha think? ;))  A couple of the girls on the team have birthdays right around the same time, so we decided to combine them and move our celebration to Toronto for a fun little change of scenery.  One of the girls found this amazing business that sends a Chocolatier to your home and teaches you and your guests how to make chocolate!

First, our lovely instructor Cocoa Kelley (don’t you love that name?) gave us a brief history on chocolate.  It was first made by the Ancient Incas and Myans, who used the cocoa beans to make a drink called “Chocolotal” (please forgive us if we misspelled that!) Fun Fact: in ancient times, before be-heading someone, they offered them a drink of chocolatal to help them relax.  So considerate of them, right?

Anyways, after the little history of chocolate was over, plenty of chocolate making/eating ensued, and of course we got to bring quite a large stash home with us!

Best. Party. Ever.

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So now that we’ve got you thinking about chocolate, you’re going to go and make this delicious, chocolate (and pumpkin) filled bread, right?

Right 😉

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

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Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 45 min
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp coffee granules (optional- intensifies the chocolate flavour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/4 c. coconut oil, softened
1/4 c. date paste
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (all the dry ingredients).  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the pumpkin, coconut oil, date paste and maple syrup and stir until smooth.  (There may be a few lumps from the coconut oil- that’s ok).  Add the milk and vanilla and stir again until the mixture is smooth.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is combined.  Add the chocolate chips and give it another quick stir, until the chips are evenly distributed and there are no dry spots in the batter.

Pour the Batter into the prepared pan and bake on the centre wrack for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever been to a chocolate-making party?  What is the coolest party you’ve ever been to?

Meatless Monday and More Granola

Hey everyone!

So today marks week 2 of the blueberry edition Heather’s Meatless Monday party, which requires us not to make a new recipe with blueberries, but to choose one of the other participant’s recipes to make.

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With so many amazing-looking recipes, it was really hard to choose one!  Since we went the sweet route last Monday, we decided to make a more savoury blueberry dish this time around.  We still had a big bunch of cilantro left over from our salsa-making expeditions, and had just bought some fresh tomatoes at the grocery store, so when we saw Lindsay’s blueberry salsa we knew it was meant to be!

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What a fabulous recipe!  It had just the right amount of balance between sweet and savoury, and the perfect level of heat- and it came just in time since we had just run out of our own salsa 🙂  Thanks Lindsay!

And of course don’t forget to head on over to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out what everyone else has been up to this week!

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Now on to the other half of this post! Which is, if you haven’t already deduced from the title, more granola!

Now when you read this recipe some of you might think “wait a second- this recipe is almost the exact same as their banana tahini granola recipe!”  And you’re right.  It is basically the exact same, just with a few ingredient swaps.  So yes, we admit it, this is a bit of a cop-out recipe, but when you find a formula that works, why change it, right?

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To be honest, we weren’t planning on giving you this recipe so soon after posting about our banana-tahini granola (in hopes that you wouldn’t notice how similar they are ;)) but after mentioning it in yesterday’s post and then tantalizing you with pictures of such a pretty-looking parfait, we felt we couldn’t hold out on you any longer…

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So yes, this granola is basically a copy-cat of our last granola recipe, but we think it’s equally as delicious, so we’re not too upset about that 🙂

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So there you have it, folks- granola version 2.0- perfect for layering in an apple parfait, or just for eating by the handful 😉

Apple Cinnamon Granola

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes: ~5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c. unsweetened almond butter
2/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg white
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the apple sauce and almond butter together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a go-to base recipe for anything that you like to use to make variations?

 

Meatless Monday: Blueberries!

Some of you might remember that we participated in Heather’s Meatless Monday link-up last summer.  We loved participating, but we sort of fell off the band wagon after a while.  Well, she’s started up round two, and we’ve decided to join in again!  This time around she’s running things a little differently.  Heather has it operating it on a two-week cycle- the first week we create a recipe, the second week we re-make someone else’s recipe!  That’s good for us because it gives us a one-week grace period to get our act together and make a recipe 🙂

So by now you’ve probably noticed that we’re starting with the letter B.  That’s because we’re really awesome and we already missed the first week… oops. :S

But we’re ready this time and we’d like to start off by thanking Heather for making the theme for this week blueberries- conveniently right when blueberries went on sale at the grocery store 🙂 Such good timing!

Now let’s talk about blueberries…

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But really, what is there to say?  They’re like little blue gems bursting with flavour with every bite!  And would you just look at that colour?  A hue like that just screams of the cancer-fighting antioxidant power contained in every berry!

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It’s no secret that we love blueberries, and we’ve made our fair share of recipes that feature them as a main ingredient!  We’ve made pancakes, crepes, overnight oats parfaits, jam, muffins, french toast, and even a rice pilaf, and that’s just to name a few 🙂

But if you remember about a million years ago we made these blue velvet pancakes.  Well, just the other day we received a request from Kellie to make a pancake-in-a-jar version! Of course, we could never pass up the opportunity to make one of our all-time favourite breakfasts! And what perfect timing, just in time for Heather’s Meatless Monday!

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So here you go, Kellie, as per request! 🙂

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Of course, a blue velvet cake  pancake would not be right without icing!  So if you have no dietary restrictions (the icing is not vegan) we highly recommend that you include it!

DSCN5622 It’s tastes like cream cheese frosting, but there’s no cream cheese! Sneaky, sneaky…

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So we hope you all give this recipe a try- but if having blueberry-filled chocolate cake with “cream cheese” frosting for breakfast isn’t your thing… well you must be crazy 😉

But before we give you the recipe, we want to remind you to head on over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies and check out all the other great recipes everyone else has come up with!

Blue Velvet Pancake in a Jar

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 5 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 c. frozen blueberries + 1/3 c. for each jar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (or almond butter would work here, too)
2/3 c. Milk or non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
Fresh blueberries for topping

For the Icing:

1 tsp coconut butter, melted
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp plain yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and whisk together with a wire whisk.  In a microwave-safe dish, microwave the blueberries until they are no longer frozen and mash with a fork until there are very few whole berries left.  Add the butter or margarine, milk and extracts to the blueberries and mix well.  Add the blueberry mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined
Place 1/3 c. of blueberries in the bottom of each jar.  Divide the batter evenly among the two jars and microwave for 5 minutes, or until the batter is firm.  Top with blueberries and frosting.

For the Frosting:

Combine all the ingredients in a small dish and serve on top of your pancake-in-a-jar.

~twosaucysisters

Do you like blueberries?  What is your favourite way to eat them?

Meatless Monday: Kale

It’s back, and we can’t believe it’s already been a week since last week’s meatless Monday, jalepenos!

Seriously, last week just flew by! It went by so fast, in fact, that last night we all of the sudden remembered that the next day was Monday, and we hadn’t even thought about what we were going to make! Thankfully, we had kale on hand. 🙂

Sweet n’ Sour Tofu Crsipy Kale Role-Ups.
Try saying that 10X fast!

These fabulous little wraps are quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious! The kale and tofu gets all crispy, and the veggies soften slightly (tender crisp, you could say). Tonnes of sweet-and-sour flavour packed up with crispy colourful veggies – does it get any better?

The sweet and sour marinade is made of low sodium soy sauce, peach juice, and  ginger. You can use any fruit juice, really, you just may have to adjust for the sweetness level based on the sweetness of your fruit juice.

Served with a peanut sauce, because what’s sweet and sour tofu and veggies without a peanut sauce?

Good question.

Happy Meatless Monday, everyone! 🙂

Sweet n’ Sour Tofu Crispy Kale Roll-ups

Prep time: 45 + 15min
Cook time: 5-10min
Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

For the tofu:

1/2 block firm tofu
2 tsbp low-sodium sow sauce
3 tbsp peach juice
1 tbsp water
1 tsp ground ginger
pepper, to taste

For the roll-ups:

10 large kale leaves
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/4 medium red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 c. shredded purple cabbage

For the Peanut Sauce:

2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1-3 tbsp water

Directions:

Press the tofu to squeeze out extra water for at least 15 min. Slice it into 1cm-wide strips. Combine all marinade ingredients in a plastic bag or container and allow to sit for at least 30min.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the center of each kale leaf, place 2-3 tofu strips and top with the julienned veggies. Using string or strips of cheesecloth (what we had on hand!), tie the roll-up so it will stay together. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with left-over marinade.
Bake for 5-10min, until kale and tofu are crispy and veggies are tender-crisp.

For the peanut sauce:

Combine peanut butter, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl. Add water, a half-tablespoon at a time until you have reached desired consistency.

-twosaucysisters

Have you ever made kale-wraps before?

Meatless Monday Gets Fall Inspiration

Happy Meatless Monday, everybody!

We were really excited about this week’s edition of Meatless Monday, because we’ve always wanted to try Israeli Couscous, but just never gotten around to it.  Thanks to Heather, though, we finally had the perfect excuse to make the special trip to the bulk barn to buy some!

And of course, given our current Fall-themed obsession, what was included in our couscous dish?  Pumpkin, of course!  (Nothing is safe from the pumpkin takeover…)

Pumpkin Israeli Couscous Risotto!

This dish was extra-special, because since we are home right now for Thanksgiving, we got to share it with our family!  Now that we live away from home at school, we don’t get the opportunity to cook for our family as often as we used to, so whenever we come home we try to do something a little extra-special for them.

We’re not trying to toot our own horn here, but this risotto turned out amazingly well!  Our family loved it!  It was everything a risotto should be: creamy, chewy, and packed with flavour.

We love risotto.  In fact, it may just be one of our favourite side-dishes!  Unfortunately, we don’t make it very often because it is rather time-consuming.  And not the throw-it-in-the-oven-and-wait-forever-for-it-to-cook type time-consuming, but the stand-over-the-stove-and-stir-until-your-brain-goes-numb type of deal.  Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration, but risotto does require constant supervision, and isn’t exactly a 20 minute meal.

But our family is worth the extra prep-time 🙂

And of course, the deliciousness of this risotto speaks for itself!

Obviously,traditional risotto is made with arborio rice, and obviously we didn’t make ours that way! (we don’t think pumpkin is a traditional ingredient to add to risotto, either!)

But Israeli couscous works fantastically well in place of the rice, and pumpkin is good in everything, so it was a win in every corner!

So without further ado, we give you the recipe.  And then don’t forget to head over to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out what all the other participants managed to come up with!

Pumpkin Israeli Couscous Risotto

Time: 30-40 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. Israeli Couscous
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
3 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

Directions:

Heat the olive oil of medium-high heat and add the onions and the garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the couscous and cook, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the cider vinegar and cook until all of the vinegar has been absorbed.

Begin to add the stock, one cup at a time, stirring frequently.  Each time you add a cup of stock, cook and stir until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next cup.  This is the time-consuming part of the process, but very necessary!

Once all of the stock has been added, stir in the pumpkin and seasonings, and cook until heated through.  Turn off the heat, stir in the Parmesan or nutritional yeast, and serve!

Step-By-Step:

Step 1: Sweat your onions

Step 2: Stir in the couscous:

Step 3 and 4: Stir in the vinegar, then begin adding stock, stirring until fully absorbed:

As for the rest- we think you can handle it on your own 😉

~twosaucysisters

Do you like risotto?  Do you enjoy cooking for your family?  What are your favourite things to cook for them?

Meatless Mondays A-Z: Figs

Hello 2SS readers!

We’re back from our weekend in Montreal, kicking off the 2012 cross country season! It was a great weekend full of fun, running, and awesome eats! We’ll be re-capping the weekend’s events tomorrow, but for now….

Meatless Monday! 🙂

This week, the letter is “F” for figs! Mmmmm figs 🙂 . We love them, they are so naturally sweet and delicious, with a little bit of texture added from their teeny-tiny little seeds. Yumm:)

We were really excited when we found out that this week was figs, as probably one of our favourite little grab-and-go snacks are fig newtons! In high school, we used to always have a package of fig newtons in the house, and they are something we’ve been wanting to try our hand at making for quite some time.

MMAZ gave us the perfect opportunity.

When buying them at the grocery store, we always got the 60% whole wheat ones, but we knew that we could do better than that!

Our fig newtons are 100% whole wheat, and contain no added sugar.  They also use coconut oil instead of butter.

They should actually be called date-and-fig newtons, because our filling has dates in it (partly to help with sweetening, but mostly because we only had one package of dried figs!).

Don’t forget to head over to Heather to check the rest of this week’s participants.

Happy Meatless Monday everyone! 🙂

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons

Prep: 30 min
Bake: 30 min
Makes: 20 squares

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

1/2 c. dried back figs
1/2 c. dates
1/2 c. water
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

For the Crust:

1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. creamed honey
1 egg, brought to room temperature
1 tbsp luke-warm milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp luke-warm water, if needed

Directions:

For the Filling:

Place figs, dates, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-low and cook until the dates and figs soften and begin to “melt”, stirring frequently and slightly crushing up the figs.  Once the water has cooked away, add the lemon juice, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Blend in the food processor to remove the chunks.

For the Crust:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, cream the honey and coconut oil.  Add the egg (the egg must be at room temperature, or else it’ll cause the coconut oil to harden) and milk and vanilla.  Combine the wet with the dry and kneed with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough. Ad extra water if the dough is too dry.

With a rolling pin, roll half of the dough into a square about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread fig filling on top.  Roll out the other piece of dough in the same way and place over top of the fig mixture.

Bake for 30min, until lightly browned.

-twosaucysisters