I recently bought a 10kg crate of beautiful, purple figs for making preserves. After processing the ripest fruit into jars of soft set conserves, spiced sweet pickles and two large racks of dried figs, a bowl full of firmer figs were set aside for making a tart or two.
Squidgy almond pastries are the stuff my dreams are made of, and this fig frangipane tart ticks all the boxes. The pastry base is buttery and flaky (no blind baking required), the frangipane filling is moist and gooey, and the beautiful figs bake to a soft consistency that showcases their natural jammy goodness.
This tart is best served at room temperature, with or without a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.
For the pastry base: (enough for 2 tart bases, recipe adapted from The Ultimate Snowflake Collection by Heilie Pienaar)
- 500 ml (280 g) cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (2,5 ml) salt
- 15 ml caster sugar
- 200 g cold butter, cubed
- 1 XL egg yolk
- about 20 ml ice-cold water
- 5 ml fresh lemon juice
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and process to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk the yolk, water and lemon juice together, then add it to the flour/butter mixture. Process until it comes together in a ball, then transfer to a sheet of cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Spray a 23 cm fluted loose bottom tart tin with non-stick baking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry dough to a thickness of about 3 mm. The pastry will easily tear, but don’t worry – you can patch it easily by pressing excess dough into the cracks. Transfer the rolled out dough carefully into the tin and press it neatly into the corners. Cut the excess pastry neatly off on the edges. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart all over. Now it is ready for the filling (see below).
Note: The second half of the pastry can be frozen for another time, otherwise refrigerate and use within 3 days.
For the filling:
- 90 g soft butter
- 1/2 cup (105 g) caster sugar
- 2 XL eggs
- 5 ml almond essence
- 100 g ground almonds
- 15 ml cake flour
- about 10 medium or 15 small figs, halved
- 10 ml smooth apricot/fig jam, heated, for brushing
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the butter and caster sugar in a food processor and mix until creamy (you can also use electric beaters). Add the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping the sides. Add the essence, ground almonds and flour and mix well. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin lined with pastry, and tilt it to evenly fill the bottom. Arrange the fig halves cut sides up in the tin (the filling will rise a little inbetween, so don’t be alarmed if it seems to be a little “shallow”).
Bake at 200 C for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180 C and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the filling has puffed up and is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, then gently brush all over with the heated jam, taking care not to break up the tender surface. Let it cool completely, then remove the tin casing and serve in slices.