One of my favourite fruits is a fig, and we had a wonderful elderly neighbour who used to give us a call and say that the figs were ready to pick. He has an enormous plot, full of fruit trees and veg of all kinds, which he looks after with help from his daughter and son-in-law. Whenever we went to collect some figs, and I mean a huge basket full, he'd ply us with salad and every other veg he was growing [as well as a large glass of Pineau de Charentes, home made, and some galette!].
So when this month's challenge from Tea Time Treats is to make something French, I knew I had to make fig tartlets. These say 'Oh la la' for me, and I dedicate this post to M.
The figs I used for these tartelettes were nothing like the fresh ones from M's garden, but were imported from South Africa. I can never resist buying figs if I see them!
400g sweet shortcrust pastry [I make mine with 175g plain flour, 75g butter, 2 egg yolks, 40g caster sugar and 1 tbspn cold water. You sieve the flour onto a worktop, make a hole in the centre, add the rest of the ingredients and mix these together with your fingertips then gradually mix in the flour. Chill for 30 mins.]
125g caster sugar
3 beaten eggs
125g ground almonds
5 tbspns plum jam
1 tspn vanilla essence
15cl orange juice
some icing sugar
heat oven 200C/gas 6
grease 6 tartlet tins
[or if you prefer, you could make just one big tart using a 20cm tin]
Line the tartlet tins with pastry then some foil and bake blind for 10 mins - take out the foil and cook for another 5 mins.
Beat the butter with 75g of the sugar, then gradually add the beaten eggs. Mix in the ground almonds.
Brush the jam over the pastry in the tins then cover with the cake mixture. Cut each fig deeply with a cross, [but don't cut right through] then put them on top of each tartlet and press it down slightly.
Bake for 10 mins [20 if it's a big tart].
In a pan, gently heat the rest of the sugar with the vanilla and orange juice till the sugar has dissolved.
Bring it to the boil so that the syrup is reduced. Brush it over the top of the tartlets and shake over some icing sugar.
I like to serve them with creme fraiche.
You could use other fruit such as plums.
I love these because of the contrast between the crunchy pastry, soft almondy layer and then the sweetness of the fig, with the vanilla and orange flavours of the syrup coming through.
This is my entry to the March challenge of Tea Time Treats hosted alternately by Karen of Lavender and Lovage blog and Kate of What Kate Baked blog. This month Karen is hosting the challenge. Have a look here for more information.