Fresh Fig and Vanilla Tart

27 03 2012

Hello fair friends. It’s been a while. I hope you’ve been happily munching away on yummy bits and bobs like Smoked Salmon Tapas or Speedy Asian Beef Salad in my absence? I’ve been busy foraging for fresh fruit and veg, and having a Tarting old time. There’s something very special about cooking or baking with seasonal ingredients. In days gone by this was just the norm, now it seems to be very much a luxury. One that I try to indulge as often as time and money will allow.

Since moving to Joburg, one of the very best foodie discoveries I’ve made is The Carrera Centre*, with wholesale fruit, veg, nut, fish, dairy and even Indian and Chinese shops. You can fill up a trolley of wonderful goodies for about half the price of anywhere else. Amongst other delights such as pomegranates (more about those later) my bounty this week included a box of figs. In truth they were nearing the end of their prime, but they were perfectly good enough for this quick and easy Fig Tart for tea on Friday afternoon.

I know not everyone is a fig fan, but I am sure other soft fruits would work beautifully too. Berries, cherries, peaches and nectarines, to name a few. If this just doesn’t tickle your fancy, then sit tight and I will soon be delivering to you a Chocolate and Pecan Nut Tart, and, even dearer to my heart, Zanzibar-spiced Poached Fig Ice Cream which I happen to think is kind of amazing, its humble title belying great levels of deliciousness.

Enough of all that for now. To our happy little Fig Tart we go.

Serves 4-6 | Preparation time 15 minutes | Baking time 25-30 minutes
This recipe for a 15cm pie dish (medium-sized)
Times above exclude pastry-resting times.

For the Pastry
1½ cups all-purpose or cake flour
½ cup icing sugar
a pinch of salt
125 g cold butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract / paste / essence

For the Filling
About 8 fresh figs, rinsed, de-stemmed and cut in half

For the lemon syrup filling
1Tb unsalted butter
1 Tb lemon juice
65g caster sugar (about 3 level tablespoons)

1 Tb chopped fresh mint
Handful roughly chopped pecan nuts (about 60g)

For the cream filling, whisk together gently in a separate bowl
100ml double cream (or mix half mascarpone with half regular cream and whisk together)
1 egg
Pinch each of ground nutmeg and cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

1. To make the pastry, whisk the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl to remove any lumps. Work the butter into the flour with your hands, breaking it up, and continue mixing by hand until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Add the egg, vanilla and milk, and mix gently. Try to avoid over-working the dough. Form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 15
minutes. Lightly grease your tart tin and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C. For the filling: heat the butter, lemon juice and castor sugar in a small saucepan until butter melts, remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about ½ cm thick and use to line the tin or dish. Use a fork to prick the surface a few times and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes (to avoid blind-baking).

5. Remove your pastry-lined tart dish from the freezer, and lay the fig halves inside the pastry base, brush with the butter and lemon syrup and bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven, scatter over the mint and chopped nuts and pour over the cream filling, before baking for a further 10-12 minutes until golden and just set. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

*You can double the pastry and freeze half for up to 2 months to use when you need it. For easy filling and baking, freeze the dough already in a pie dish  if you have one spare.

* The Carrera Centre – Corner Pine and Republic – No surprise that I couldn’t find a website but do check it out if you’re in Joburg.




4 responses

28 03 2012
Jenna Hutchings

Looks delish SB!

31 03 2012

Figs are quite hard to find in Gauteng even when in season. Are there any fruit substitutes that could work for this tart?

2 04 2012

Hi Leonie, you could use most other soft-flesh fruits – nectarines, peaches, cherries, mixed berries, and even ripe pears. Have fun with the recipe.

10 07 2012
Spiced Fig Ice-Cream « afoodieliveshere

[…] not up your street, but you figging love figs? Try Fresh Fig & Vanilla Tart OR Fig & Honey Crumble with Lavender & […]

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