Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rustic Fig Tart

My sister Karla is a big fan of Chez Pim (at the moment), so I checked out her site a few weeks ago and found one of her posts alluringly appealing: a fig tart. At Marketplace this afternoon, I saw some Brazilian figs that had been pre-packaged in sets of 6. Each fig had been encased in a styrofoam slip to protect it from being pressed or squeezed. Leaning in to take a closer look at them, I noticed that a cloudy tuff of moss had begun to grow on the insides of the plastic wrap. Murky brown liquid had seeped out of many of the packets and coated my fingers with a sticky substance: the figs were decomposing rapidly. I immediately notified a staff member, chastising them for covering each individual fig so as to obscure each fig's state of ripeness from clear public view. Marketplace let me open up a clear box of 2 dozen figs that had not been styro-wrapped individually (at a price of $475.00) and I selected half a dozen ripe figs to take home. The result was this delicious fig tart, adapted from Chez Pim, that was baked in a tempered almond frangipane, mellowing the bittersweet taste of soft baked figs.

Pie Crust (Adapted from Elise Simply Recipes)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons ice water
Cut the sticks of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to an hour (the longer the better) so that they become thoroughly chilled.
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. *

Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface (silicon pad or baking sheet) to a 9-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking.

*If you don't have a food processor (like in my case), combine butter with dry ingredients in a big bowl, and using two knives slice the butter mixture in opposite directions, beginning at the centre and moving outward. This will take a while, but you'll eventually end up with pea sized shapes of butter. Add the cold water tablespoon at a time, and when it holds together, following the rest of the steps.

Almond Frangipane

45g whole almonds

45g granulated sugar

45g butter at room temperature

1 medium egg

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Roast them for about 8 minutes, or until slightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a plate and let it cool to room temperature.

Put the cooled almonds and the sugar into a food processor and process until fine. Add the butter and the egg and pulse until well-combined. If you don't want to use it right away, divide the frangipane into two equal parts, wrap each tightly in plastic. They will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and up to a month in the freezer.

Rustic Fig Tart

1 9" pastry dough

about 8-10 large figs or about 15 small ones

1/2 the recipe of frangipane above

Egg whites for wash

Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Roll out your pastry dough to about 10-inch diameter - more or less won't harm anything.

Spread about the almond frangipane on the dough, leaving about 1 inch parameter around the outer edge of the dough.

Quarter the figs (only halve if small) and arrange them -pointy end up will be prettier- in concentric circles to cover the frangipane.

Fold the edges in, pinching a little to make sure they stick. Brush the dough with eggwhite wash and give it a good shower of granulated sugar. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry edges are golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with macadamia nut or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6 generous slices or 8 juicy slivers


  1. This looks gorgeous, love the rustic pie crust.

  2. Yo this fig tart looks friggin' amazing! When can I try some?!