crostata di fichi
it’s getting chilly around here. i heard the word “crisp” from the morning news anchors to describe this morning–crisp, and makes you sort of groan and moan when you realize you have to get up and do the morning run. no complaints, especially if you have some leftover fig tart to go with that hot strong espresso. we’ve been indulging in a fit of an Italian-food “jag” and even though it is by way of a British chef i think it will pass muster.
i had to break down the recipe a little bit–to make it a bit more user-friendly. it’s not that hard, just read it over a couple of times. the pastry can be done ahead.
husband doesn’t usually like dessert, but he practically swooned over this tart. it’s that good! (i’m going to try other stone fruits like peaches or nectarines for my next attempts.)
(recipe from Jaime Oliver’s Italy)
9 tbsps. unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
a small pinch of salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsps. cold milk or water
zest of half a lemon
grease an 11-inch tart tin with a removable bottom. cream together the butter, sugar, and salt, and rub in the flour, lemon zest, and egg yolks–by hand or in a food processor. when mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the milk or water. pat and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly. don’t overwork the pastry, it will become elastic and chewy not flaky and short. wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour. roll it out and line the tart tin. freeze for an hour.
preheat the oven to 350F and bake the pastry for around 12 minutes or until lightly golden. remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 325F.
10 ozs. almond flour
2 tbsps. all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tbsps. butter
14 tbsps. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and seeds scraped off, or 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
whisk almond flour and all purpose flour in a large bowl.
process the butter and sugar until light and creamy. add to the almonds and flour, then add the eggs, vanilla and fold in until completely mixed and smooth. refrigerate for at least half an hour to firm up.
prepare the figs:
15 figs, washed, patted dry
2 tbsps. sugar
2 tbsps. water
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
zest of 1 orange
remove the stems, score each one on the top in the shape of a cross, then using your thumb push up from the base to open it out.
heat the sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. remove from heat and stir in the thyme and orange zest.
spoon the chilled frangipane mixture into the pastry case, then lightly push the figs into the frangipane with the scored side up. sprinkle the sugar syrup over the figs.
bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the frangipane mixture has become firm and golden on the outside but is still soft in the middle. allow to cool for about 30 to 40 minutes before serving.