Fig tart

Fig tart

By
From
How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This classic French tart – filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh fruit – is a lovely way to appreciate fruits that are in season. Vary the fruit accordingly – try halved ripe strawberries or whole raspberries, or lightly poached apricots, peaches or cherries. Serve the tart just as it is.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Pastry

Quantity Ingredient
250g plain (unbleached) flour, plus extra to dust
125g unsalted butter, well chilled, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 organic free-range large egg yolk
a little iced water

Pastry cream

Quantity Ingredient
320ml whole milk
3 organic free-range large egg yolks
2-3 drops vanilla extract
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
15g chilled unsalted butter, in pieces

Topping

Quantity Ingredient
8 perfectly ripe figs
1 tablespoon fig, strawberry or raspberry jam
2 tablespoons water

Method

  1. To make the pastry, tip the flour into a food processor and add the chilled butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Pulse until you have the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of iced water and pulse once more; the pastry should begin to come together. Add a little more iced water as necessary, pulsing until the pastry forms a ball. (Be careful not to add too much water, as wet dough is difficult to work with.)
  2. Wrap the pastry in baking parchment or cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the pastry cream, gently warm the milk in a saucepan over a low heat until it just emits a little steam. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar and flour together in a bowl to combine. Slowly pour on the warm milk, whisking as you do so.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir continuously over a low heat, using a wooden spoon in a figure-of-eight motion, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon and no longer tastes floury; this will take about 10 minutes. Immediately pour through a sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the chilled butter. Leave to cool completely, then cover the surface with baking parchment or cling film and refrigerate.
  5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a large round, about 3mm thick. Carefully lift the dough onto the rolling pin and drape it over a 25cm fluted flan tin, about 3cm deep. Press the pastry gently into the fluted sides and prick the base with a fork. Return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beans (or raw chickpeas, beans or rice) and bake ‘blind’ on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through, golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  7. Spoon the pastry cream into the cooled pastry case and spread it evenly. Slice the figs across into rounds and lay them, overlapping, on top of the pastry cream in a circular pattern. Warm the jam with the water in a small pan, stirring to dissolve, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow the glaze to cool slightly.
  8. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the figs with the glaze – this will give them a luxurious gloss. Cut into generous slices to serve.

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