Yesterday, one of the ladies at work was given a huge bag of fresh, ripe figs by the company's fruit delivery man. Through some good fortune, I was given the figs to make a fig tart for the people at work. I was pretty excited, because these figs were large and lovely and ripe, and Lord knows that figs are rather expensive to buy. However, I also was a little fearful. What if the tart didn't work out? What if people didn't like it?
My first hurdle was to choose a tart recipe. I needed to choose a recipe that used fresh figs in a sweet tart, but given that I was too lazy to go to the shops after work, only used ingredients that I had on hand. I also needed a recipe that was easily achievable within an evening. For a while, I considered making Jamie Oliver's Fig Tart for the second time, just leaving out what I didn't have (eg orange rind, fresh thyme). However, after a quick flick through the index of Dorie Greenspan's Baking - From My Home to Yours, I came across a recipe for a Honey-Almond Fig Tart. The recipe is on p373 of the book, or can be found online here.
The drawback with this recipe is that no-one had posted online about this tart, and there was no photo. Accordingly, if I was going to make this, I was on my own making a previously untried recipe using other people's fruit. Yikes!
Luckily, the tart shell was Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough that I have made a zillion times before and is easy peasy, because you don't have to roll it out - you just press it into the pie pan.
The hitch came with the almond cream filling. Dorie says to only use as much as will fill the tart shell three quarters full. I didn't want to waste any of the almond cream, so I put it all into the pie shell. It fitted easily, but after half an hour n the oven, I had almond cream erupting like lava out of the tart. Luckily, I was able to clean it up easily and the tart wasn't affected.
The next hitch with the almond cream was the baking time. Dorie quotes a baking time of 35 minutes. However, even though I turned the oven up higher than stated after 35 minutes because the filling was still molten, it took an hour and a half for the filling to set! I had to tent the outsides, which browned quickly, with alfoil while the middle of the tart continued to bake.
I was terrified that the bottom of the tart had burned because it took so long for the filling to set - luckily, my fears were not realised.
Despite the hitches, the tart turned out well - it was a deep burnished brown with glossy figs glistening on the surface like jewels. Best of all, it passed the taste test with the punters.
Dorie said that she likes to eat this tart on its own without any accompaniments - and that is just what we did. The tart is devinely rich, and a small piece is enough to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.