Fig Tart

Version 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g whole almonds (about 1/2 cup)
  • 75g sugar, you can use half granulated sugar and half confectioner’s sugar, or just all granulated sugar (about 1/8 cup granulated plus 1/4 cup confectioner’s, or just 1/3 cup granulated)
  • 75g butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 9″ pastry dough
  • about 10 large figs or about 15 small ones

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  2. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place them in the oven.
  3. Roast them for about 10 minutes, or until slightly toasted and fragrant.  Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Put the cooled almonds and the sugar into a food processor and process until fine.
  5. 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 four 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.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  7. Roll out your pastry dough to about 10-inch diameter – more or less won’t harm anything.
  8. Spread about 1/4 of the quantity of the mixture on the dough, leaving about 1 inch parameter around the outer edge of the dough.
  9. Quarter the figs (only halve if small) and arrange them -pointy end up will be prettier- in concentric circles to cover the mixture.
  10. Fold the edges in, pinching a little to make sure they stick.  If you want, you can brush the dough with eggwash and give it a good shower of sugar.
  11. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the pastry edges are golden brown. When I feel like it I use a microplane to zest a meyer lemon right over the tart just after it’s out of the oven for an extra kick.
  12. Serve while still warm

Version 2

INGREDIENTS:

For the dough:

  • 1 ¼ cups (about 5 ½ ounces) all-purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water (put ice cubes in glass of cold water to chill)

For the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons sugar or less if fruit is quite ripe
  • 1/5 lbs fresh figs

METHOD:

  1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to mix.
  2. Pour mixture onto a clean, smooth surface such as a stainless steel table.
  3. Cut butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and add to dry ingredients. Toss once or twice to coat pieces of butter.
  4. Use your hands to rub the butter into the dry ingredients by breaking it into tiny pieces, continuously pinching and squeezing it into the dry ingredients.Be careful to keep the mixture uniform by occasionally reaching down to the bottom of the mixture and mixing all the ingredients evenly together.
  5. Continue rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces of butter are dime/nickel-sized. Create a well in the center of the dough, spoon 2 tablespoons of the water into the hole, and mix gently with your fingertips, gradually working the water into the dry ingredients.
  6. The mixture will crumbly in the beginning but should begin to come together into a ball. If the mixture still appears crumbly after working it, add the remaining water (plus more if needed after mixing together), 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough holds together easily. (Note: too little water makes a flaky crust that will crack during rolling; too much water makes an elastic, bread-like crust that lacks flakiness. Do not over-work the dough or it will become tough.) When finished, you should have a ball of dough with small pieces of butter still visible in the mixture. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and press it into a 6 inch disk. Refrigerate until firm, or until you are ready to use it, at least 1 hour.
  7. Clean and dry work surface. Dust lightly with flour. Wipe rolling pin clean. Dust lightly with flour. Pound dough with rolling pin in two directions so it begins to spread out then roll dough into a ~9 inch disk by rolling in one direction (away from you), turning dough 90 degrees and rolling away from you again. Repeat process until you have a 1/8 inch think disc, dusting more flour under dough and on rolling pin if it sticks.
  8. Trace a ~9 inch circle in dough using the bottom of a tart pan as a guide. Quarter figs through the stem or, if large, cut them in sixths. Set aside in a bowl.
  9. Just before you are ready to assemble galettes, sprinkle figs with 6 tablespoons of sugar and toss gently to distribute.
  10. Transfer dough to a heavy baking sheet. Arrange figs attractively on dough, leaving a 1 ½ inch edge all the way around. Fold the edge over to create a border making sure there are no cracks in the dough or the fruit juices will seep out during baking. Patch, if necessary, with bits of trimmed dough lightly moistened with cold water.
  11. Brush border with a little egg wash (1 yolk lightly beaten with a pinch of salt), then sprinkle the border generously with sugar.
  12. Bake at 220ºC (425ºF) until crust is golden and fruit is bubbly, 22 to 25 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly before serving.
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