They weighed heavy on my mind, and the pressure was killing me. My SIL who had been visiting for the past few days had bought me some fresh figs from Pune since she knew how fascinated I am by them. The fact that figs are highly perishable creations of nature didn’t make life any easier. But the past few days had been a race to the finish, and I never got a chance to pay attention to these unassuming looking fruit, rather plain from the exterior.
Finally got some time one afternoon to sit and browse blogs and almost fell out of my chair in surprise to see Purple Foodies post on my reader… A Fig Tart with Vanilla Scented Frangipane. Why the surprise? For one, I have always known Shaheen to immensely dislike frangipaneanythingfor as long as I have known her. Surprised too because one look at the post and I knew it was figgy time for me. Barely had I glanced at her gorgeous pictures and I raced to the kitchen. In 40 minutes I was a happy smiling person with a tart baking in the oven! Worked myself to the bone, but the pleasure was so ‘ultimate‘… BLISS!
This was my first exposure to the fragile fig, a fruit that is seen where we live only in its dried avatar. Fresh figs look ever so plain and quite unattractive from the outside; once sliced it’s like sunshine hits you. GASP! How beautiful nature is. Amazing, and so therapeutic!
My tart was a hurried process of whatever I had on hand. Inspired by Purple Foodie, who in turn was inspired by Chez Pim, I made a beautiful tart. I love frangipane so used the whole portion in my tart. Also because I had just over 4 figs I could salvage. This tart would work beautifully with plums as well.
The pastry is one I use often from Susan @ Food Blogga, which I first used when I got addicted to this Peach-Plum Galette. The pastryrecipe is an egglessone I use often for galettes and it is my firm favourite. It gives a nice crisp pastry, which I find very versatile. I used just 2/3 of the pastry here, and the rest was left in the fridge for use later.
That later came sooner than expected … where I made these delectable Orange Pastry Cream Tartlets with Candied Tangerines. Another round of inspired dessert … pastry cream from Cooking Ninja and the idea for the tarts from Tartlette!
Vanilla Scented Frangipane
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/3rd cup vanilla sugar
1 large egg
1/2 a vanilla bean
1/8 cup plain flour
1 tsp milk (or a little beaten egg for pastry)
Vanilla sugar for sprinkling
1 tbsp apricot preserve (I used melted marmalade) Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Roast them for about 10 minutes, or until slightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
Put the cooled almonds and the sugar into a food processor and process until fine. Add the butter, flour and egg and pulse until well-combined. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean and stir through.
9″ Fresh Fig Tart
2/3 quantity of this recipe, (or 1 9″ quantity of pastry dough)
About 4-5 large figs
Frangipane from above
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Roll out your pastry dough to about 10-inch diameter. Prick a fork though it every inch or so apart, and place the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread the frangipane on the dough, leaving about 1 inch perimeter around the outer edge of the dough. Slice the figs and place them from outside inwards to form concentric circles to cover the frangipane.
Fold the edges in, pinching a little to make sure they stick. Brush the dough with milk (or eggwash) and give it a good shower of vanilla sugar. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the pastry edges are golden brown.
Brush the pastry & top gently with melted preserve or marmalade as soon as it comes out to give it a good sheen, & seal the moisture in.