Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fig, Almond and Pine Nut Tart

Fig, Almond and Pinenut Tart

Instagram, Twitter and all my food magazines seem to be awash with figs right now! Not only are they in season, but they're delicious, and seem to be a lot more accessible than they used to be. I remember a few years ago, only seeing them in markets, and even then they would be quite expensive and difficult to find. (I remember spending quite a bit on them during my How to Eat Project in 2005/2006!) I'm glad they're more easily available now!

As I was sitting down to one of my many fig-and-yogurt-based breakfasts recently, I got to thinking about how good they'd be in a dessert. A tart, to be specific, with a crisp pastry base and a soft almond filling. Then I thought pine nuts and honey would be nice on top. I didn't have a specific recipe or source for inspiration, but I'm sure I've seen similar desserts in many recipe books and magazines over the years, which would have entered my brain through osmosis. It's not a particularly original combination, but an extremely tasty one. Some combinations are classics for a reason!

Fig, Almond and Pine Nut Tart

So, to the tart itself - even though there's a pastry base, the whole thing is very, very easy. The dough for the shortbread pastry is not rolled out, but simply pressed into a pie tin, and the almond filling is just stirred together and poured over the top. Easy! (I used Nigella's Bakewell Slice recipe from Feast as my starting point, adapting it to suit my tin and to include the figs).
Shortbread pastry base
It was a blisteringly hot day when I made these - about 39C from memory - and the pastry dough practically melted as I mixed the butter into the flour with my fingers. Rolling out normal pastry would have been impossible that day, let alone a super-buttery shortbready pastry like this one! After spreading it in the tin, I let it firm up in the freezer before baking it. The base turned out wonderfully crisp and crumbly - I think it'd be a great recipe to use for normal shortbread, or as a base for caramel slice!

...topped with figs...
I cut my figs them in half lengthwise and arranged them over the base - however, I think you could fit more figs in if you cut them in thin wedges (for an idea, take a look at this beautiful pistachio frangipane tart that Thanh instagrammed the other day!)
...with the almond topping and pine nuts...
I just fit all my frangipane mix in the tin, and there was a little overflow - in my recipe below I suggest a deep 20cm pie tin, rather than the shallow one I used above. (With a deeper tin, you could fit more figs in too!)

Baked fig, almond and pine nut tart 
I couldn't believe how good it tasted, for something so easy! Crisp buttery base, soft and moist almond filling, juicy figs, a slight crunch from the pine nuts - all good things! I decorated the tart with thyme flowers just because I thought it looked pretty, but the herbal aroma really went well with the fragrant almond filling. (Prosaically, they're easy to pick off if you don't like the herbal hit!) A dollop of rich double cream is essential.

with double cream

...and a bit of honey too.
and with honey!
Enjoy! How are you enjoying your figs? Any fig suggestions for me before the season ends?


Fig, Almond and Pinenut Tart
Sarah's version of a classic combination
Pastry and filling recipe based on Nigella's Bakewell Slice (Feast)

Ingredients
For the shortbread pastry
115 grams plain flour
30 grams icing sugar
Pinch salt
115 grams butter, very cold and cut into cubes
For the filling
75 grams butter, melted
2 eggs
75 grams caster sugar
75 grams ground almonds
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3-4 figs
To serve: honey, thyme flowers, double cream or ice-cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and butter into a bowl. Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Press the mixture into the base of a deep 20cm loose-bottomed pie tin. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. (Or the freezer if it's really hot outside!)
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
To make the filling, stir together the melted butter, eggs, sugar and almonds.
Slice the figs in whatever style you like, and arrange over the base. Pour over the almond filling and sprinkle with pine nuts.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Allow to cool slightly. Drizzle with honey and thyme flowers just before serving. Serve with double cream or ice-cream on the side.
Makes 8 slices.

13 comments:

Amanda @ Gourmanda said...

It looks delicious! I actually need to invest in a pie tin - I only have little individual pie tins at the moment!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

Hahaha as you probably have seen on Instagram we are ALL going CRAZY about figs :) I have a total noob to them and jumped on the bandwagon so glad you posted this recipe! It looks pretty easy and I should be able to pull it off :) Now I've just gotta go get myself some FIGS!!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

My only problem with fogs is that I love them too much and always end up eating them rather than baking with them! :D

Hannah said...

Oh my god. Heat. Figs. Thyme. This makes me want to sob all over again.

Edward Thompson said...

Great recipe, turned out brilliantly. Super tasty.

http://instagram.com/p/XO8fa5gMqp/

msihua said...

Figs are all the rage at the moment! Do so love their abundance this season!

Spicie Foodie said...

Sadly fig season is over for us in the Northern Hemisphere. But I'm pinning your gorgeous tart to try in the autumn. Thanks for sharing!

Cindy said...

That flavour combination is just too perfect! I'm crossing my fingers that some good figs will still be around for the Easter weekend.

hungryandfrozen said...

Hot damn this looks beautiful! Nice to know it works even with hot weather affecting the pastry. And I looove figs - so excited about them coming into season.

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

fwoaar! Look at that crust. Amazing. How long till you ate it all? lol Too right - figs are indeed OOC right now.

Ashley said...

Yum! I've been abolutely drooling over all the fig photos in my instagram feed! Think the fig season may be nearly over, but I've always just loved them with a bit of blue cheese, or wrapped with jamon. Yummo!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Your fig tart looks seriously stunning. I'm loving figs in season, especially since I can get them for free from my aunt's garden!

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Loooove the thyme! What a gorgeous tart :)