We’re reaching the end of fig season. It always comes and goes so quickly but we do enjoy it when it is here.
Previously, in a post on Brandied Figs we discussed just how versatile figs can be and listed several posts where we used figs. Well, this is another post on figs that is absolutely delicious. The filling has a cheesecake consistency that is sweet yet savory with the pairing of rosemary, goat cheese, and honey. The fresh figs give a light sweetness to the dish that is accented by the prosciutto. This is perfect for a light light lunch, an hors d oeuvres or a dinner party or as a dessert. If you want a little more sweetness to the dish, drizzle a little honey over the top before serving. Alternatively, add a small jar of honey on the table and let everyone decide how they like it best. It really is wonderful either way but we’ll let you decide.
This post, however, isn’t just about figs. In fact, this is one of those posts that is actually two posts in one with one of posts displaying a different technique. You see, in preparing this tart I was looking for a new tart pastry to try. I wanted something very buttery, flaky with a touch of sugar to it. Knowing what I wanted I went to the internet to see if I could find a recipe or if I could be inspired and cobble several recipes into one. In the process, I ran across the most unusual tart pastry recipe I have ever seen. It’s David Lebovitz’ French Tart Dough Recipe that he learned from Paule Caillat of Promenades Gourmandes in Paris. According to David Lebovitz as he was discussing her recipe:
I was expecting her to say, “You begin by taking some cold butter and work it into the flour.
But she started by saying, “You take butter. And you take water. You put them in a bowl. Then you put it in the oven for 20 minutes and let everything boil until…” which, of course, stopped me mid-swallow of my Côte du Rhone. I almost started choking.
“Surely, you jest!” I wanted to cry out in disbelief.
Like David Lebovitz, I was stunned when I read she put everything in an oven and brought it to a boil. It’s almost blasphemy to approach such a delicate thing as a tart shell by boiling it. Nevertheless, some crafty chef or baker somewhere in history decided to take such an approach. It’s one of the many wonders of cooking. Someone is always breaking the rules to come up with a beautiful creation that no one thought possible. It’s always these types of recipes that peak my interest and I must try them; so try it I did. It is remarkably easy (just don’t burn yourself), flaky and very tasty. It was exactly what I wanted and worked perfectly with this tart.
For the Tart Pastry
- 150 grams all purpose flour
- 90 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Filling
- 15 fresh figs, stemmed and quartered lengthwise (I used Mission and Calimyrna figs)
- 1 roll of goat cheese, 8 oz, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp honey (I used orange blossom honey)
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 thin slices prosciutto, chiffonade cut
For the Tart Pastry
This is absolutely wild. First, preheat the oven to 410º F.
In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
Place the bowl in the oven.
Cook for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.
Remove the bowl from oven, dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Now, notice when you dump in the flour it will bubble up on you because the mixture is very hot.
Transfer the dough to a tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.
Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Takes a fork and reinforce the dough to the sides. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.
Let the shell cool before filling.
For the Filling
Combine the goat cheese, honey, salt, rosemary and cream in a bowl and mix well to a creamy consistency. Add the egg.
Again, stir to blend together into a creamy consistency. Pour into cool tart shell and spread evenly to all corners.
Layer quartered figs on top of filling.
Place in a preheated 350 F oven
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese filling has set and tart shell is nicely browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with prosciutto.
Serve & enjoy!