I have to admit that I’ve only discovered fresh figs very recently. When I lived in Newfoundland, they really weren’t readily available. And while they’re super easy to find here in France (when in season), I made the mistake of reading about fig wasps before trying them. Apparently I was one of the few people who didn’t realize that figs contain decomposed wasp carcasses. Seriously, read about it in the link above – it’s pretty fascinating, albeit unappetizing. I’m usually not one to avoid eating something just because it sounds gross. In fact, I make an effort to pretty much try anything and everything, at least once. But I have a very strong aversion to (read irrational fear of) wasps.
Anyway, long story short, after hearing Hitchen rave about the figs for weeks, I eventually stopped being ridiculous and tried one. And OMG am I ever glad I did! What a DELIGHT. So now I’m on a fig-kick, and probably will be until figs aren’t in season anymore.
makes one 7″ tart
for the pastry;
150 g flour (use T65 in France)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
110 g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon chilled vodka*
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water
for the filling;
350 g fresh figs (10 to 12 figs)
125 g plain yogurt
70 g honey
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coarse sanding sugar
handful of slivered almonds
*The vodka will ensure the pastry is nice and flaky!
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your hands (work quickly so that your hands don’t melt the butter) until the mixture has a sandy texture, and some small lumps of butter remain.
Add the vodka, and mix with a wooden spoon. Begin adding the water a little at a time, until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper, until the diameter is large enough to fit into the 7″ tart pan. Use the parchment paper to lift the dough, and invert it into the pan. Press it into place, and trim the excess overhanging pastry. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Fit a piece of tinfoil into the tart shell, and fill with pastry weights (or beans). Bake for 20 minutes, then place on a wire rack until it cools to room temperature (removing the weights once cool enough to handle).
Cut the figs into quarters, and arrange cut side up in the tart shell.
In a small pitcher, whisk together the yogurt, honey, egg yolk, and vanilla. (The picture below shows two egg yolks because I was doubling the recipe!) Pour the liquid over / in between the arranged figs.
Sprinkle the sanding sugar and slivered almonds on top, and return to the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the figs are caramelized and the custard is set.
Allow the tart to cool completely on a rack before removing the tart from the pan and serving.