During fig season, I stock up on purple and green figs, jumping at the chance to try anything new with them. This weekend, I preheated my oven and got to work baking my first fig tart with both Calimyrna and black mission figs.
Making a crust can be a nerve-wracking experience, but this one is incredibly easy. The addition of vanilla extract really enhances the crust's flavor. While it is a simple recipe, it's time-consuming since the crust must be precooked before you assemble the tart.
Once the crust is cooked, just quickly arrange the figs and carefully pour in the fragrant orange blossom custard. If you can't find orange blossom water at your local market, you can order it online, or substitute orange zest. The finished tart is perfect with its flaky crust, creamy custard, and slightly caramelized figs. Fig season is fleeting, so get the recipe now.
For the crust:
5 1/2 ounces (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) chilled butter
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
12 to 16 ripe figs (using a variety is pretty)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons orange flower water
- To make the crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and then cut in the butter until the mixture forms very fine crumbs. You can also do this by pulsing in a food processor. Sprinkle in enough of the ice water for the dough to come together, and then shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for about 15 minutes.
- Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle and put it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Pinch the dough edge so that it's slightly thick, even, and rises just above the rim. Prick the bottom with a fork in 6 or 7 places, and then put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 425°F.
- Put the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet, line the shell with foil, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until it's lightly colored, 20 to 25 minutes Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 400°F; remove the weights and foil.
- To make the filling: Cut the stems off the figs (leave the skins on) and slice the figs in half — if they're large, you may choose to quarter them. Set aside one-quarter of the figs (to be added after you pour in the custard). Arrange the remaining figs, cut side up, on the tart shell; this will leave room for the custard to spread evenly when you pour it.
- Whisk the egg yolk, crème fraîche, brown sugar, and orange flower water until combined and then pour carefully around but not over the figs. Add the remaining figs. Bake the tart on the baking sheet in the 400°F oven until the custard is lightly colored and set, about 30 minutes Serve slightly warm.
- Desserts, Pies/Tarts
- Serves 6-8