When figs are in season—or if you are lucky enough to have a tree, this is the way to use some up. Akin to the rose-patterned strawberry tart in the placing of the figs, the result is spectacular, and—like all tarts—make the ideal dessert because they are finished and ready before dinner, allowing you precious time with your guests.
The following recipe for Fresh Fig and Walnut Tart is an extract from A lifetime of cooking, teaching and writing from The French Kitchen by Diane Holuigue.
The book covers everything from soups, starters, shellfish, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, desserts, breads, cakes and biscuit, and includes 230 never-before published recipes. With notes on planning menus, tips for the hurried cook and a list of essential tools for the clever cook, A lifetime of cooking, teaching and writing from The French Kitchen is the complete cookbook inspired by Diane Holuigue’s award-winning Melbourne cooking school—The French Kitchen.
Fresh Fig and Walnut Tart by Diane Holuigue
1 quantity shortcrust pastry 1 (see introduction to section in the recipe book)
80g (use 3oz) unsalted
100g (use 4oz) caster sugar
2 egg yolks or 1 whole egg
125g (4oz) ground walnuts or almonds
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornflour
few drops vanilla essence or pinch cinnamon
about 15 small firm figs, try to buy the brown and as pointed as possible
20 x ½ walnut kernels
icing (confectioners’) sugar
26-28cm (10-11in) tart mould
1. Roll out the pastry and line a 26-28cm (use 10in) tart mould. Chill while making the filling to maintain its shape when it hits the hot oven (15 minutes in the fridge, or 10 in the freezer).
2. The filling: In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and blend, then the chosen nut-meal, arrowroot or cornflour and a few drops vanilla or pinch cinnamon. Spread into the pastry base. Halve the figs and arrange skin-side down in a spiral pattern over the top of the flan. Dot the walnuts between the figs, curved side up.
3. Bake in a 200°C (400°F) oven for 35 minutes, checking after 25 to see the figs are not caramelising too much. If they do, turn (spin) the mould a little, reduce heat back to 180°C (350°F) to finish the cooking. (If the figs are very ripe, and giving up too much moisture, remove from oven, sop off the moisture by dabbing with paper towelling, then return to the oven and finish cooking).
4. To serve: Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, with thick or whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. In class, we serve white rum ice cream with chopped glacé fig and macadamia nuts.
Recipe for “Fresh Fig and Walnut Tart” by Diane Holuigue published with the permission of the publisher Slattery Media Group