We are blessed with a bountiful and resilient Black Mission Fig Tree. If I'm being honest, we tried to cut it down 3 years ago. At that time, we hated figs, it was infested with all sorts of bugs and insects and housed rats and rodents. So, we chopped it down... or at least we thought we did. The next year, it came back-- full of life and had some fruit. We thought to ourselves "hmmm... well, we don't HATE figs like we used to, lets give it a whirl". This year, HOLY MOLY! The figs came back in such an abundance that we couldn't eat them fast enough! Besides enjoying them in our morning fruit parfaits, we gave some to neighbors, made jam, made fig syrup for cocktails and this amazing recipe! The tart was my favorite way to enjoy our figs this season. I am no baker. In fact, I don't really enjoy baking. I'm too impatient to measure things and in general, find savory cooking more relaxed/easy going and therapeutic. But after having a fig tart that a dear friend made, I figured I'd take a stab at it. So, I poured myself a beer and decided to try my hand at making a tart from scratch... crust 'n all! I will say, it turned out better than expected and I actually had fun! Enjoy the recipe below.
Aaron's Tart Dough as featured in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cuonbes, chilled
6 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream, chilled (I used heavy cream)
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Freeze, along with the butter and the paddle attachment, for 20 minutes. Chill the creme fraiche and cream in the fridge.
Put the bowl of dry ingredients on the stand mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Turn the speed to low and slowly add the butter cubes. Once the butter is added. you can increase the speed to medium-low. Work in the butter until it looks like broken walnut-size pieces (1-2 minutes).
Add the creme fraiche (or cream). In some cases, this will be enough to bind the dough with a bit of mixing. In other cases, you might need to add a spoonful or two of ice water. Resist the urge to add so much water, or mix for so long, that the dough comes completely together.
If you are not sure whether or not the dough needs more water, stop the mixer and take a handful of dough in your palm. Squeeze it hard, then gently try to break it apart. If it crumbles apart very easily and feels very dry, add more water. If it holds together or breaks into a few chunks, you're done.
On the counter, pull out a long piece of plastic wrap, but do not cut it. In one quick motion, flip the bowl over on to the plastic wrap. Remove the bowl and avoid touching the dough. Cut the plastic from the roll and, lifting with both ends, use it to encourage all of the dough into a ball. Don't worry if there are some dry bits -- the flour will evenly absorb the moisture with time. Just twist the plastic tightly around the dough, press the ball into a disk, and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Aaron's Tart Dough
Flour for rolling
12 Figs, quartered
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Once Aaron's Tart Dough Recipe has chilled and is ready to go, flour the counter and your rolling pin and roll the dough out til its about 1/8 inch thick. Shape is up to you... ours turned into a square. Once the dough is rolled out, layer the figs as to try to not leave any space between. The figs will shrink slightly while in the oven. Once the figs are placed on the dough, gently fold the sides up to create a crusted liner for the tart.
Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and brush on to the crust and on top of the figs.
Here is where you need to pay attention. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 400 and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375 and bake until done, about another 20 minutes. Rotate the tart while baking to ensure even browning. (These baking instructions also came from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat).
This tart recipe can be used with a variety of fruits, nuts etc and can be made savory or sweet! We loved it with some homemade blackberry goat cheese ice cream from a friend.