I love the taste and smell of figs especially Mission figs. It is earthy and mildly sweet and I can’t resist buying two boxes of it when I saw them at the Asian supermarket. Then I fall sick and it has been sitting in the fridge for 2 weeks and I finally get to do something with it late last week. Thank god they were all still good except for one of it.
I never tasted fresh fig until I came to America over 15 years ago. It was at the New York Union Square farmers market. I bought a box of it out of curiosity and fell in love with it ever since. I will always buy some when it is in season. Normally I will just have it fresh with yogurt with a bit of honey but this time I decided to make some tarts and garnish it with these fresh beauties. It's almost too pretty to eat but we are not letting this creation go to waste, though and we devour them up in no time ;)
Ingredients for the Crust:
½ cup ground walnut
1 ½ cups flour
6 tbsp cold butter – cut into cubes
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
3-4 tbsp ice water
1. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and ground walnuts. Give it a few pulses and add in the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.
2. Drizzle 3 tbsp of the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse to combine. Squeeze a small piece of dough; if it doesn’t hold together, add 1 Tbsp. more ice water and pulse to combine.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times, just until it comes together. Press the dough into a well greased 9” tart pan or 6-8 small tart pans. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and bake for 25-30 min or until brown and the dough is cooked. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.
Ingredients for Pastry Cream:
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scrape off the seeds
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Bring the milk, half of the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla bean to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat.
2. Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/8 cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks to the cornstarch and mix into a smooth paste.
3. Slowly, and in small amounts, whisk a little by little of the hot milk into the egg mixture. This is to temper the eggs, which need to get them to the same temperature of the hot milk so it won’t curdle. Once it is done, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return the custard to the stove.
4. In low heat, bring to a boil, whisking continuously. When the pastry cream is done remove from heat and add in the butter. Whisk until smooth.
5. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool down before using.
To assemble the tart:
10 – 12 mission figs
3 tbsp apricot jam
Pour the pastry cream into the prepared crust. Slice the figs and layer them over the pastry cream. Warm up the apricot jam in the microwave oven for 25 seconds, mix well and brush it all over the figs. Serve cold and enjoy!