Beautiful velvety figs with vibrant crimson interiors.
They're right in season at the moment and on all of the shelves everywhere- greengrocers, supermarkets and deli shops down the road.
Add them to salads with salty crumbly goats cheese, slice them up, roast them and serve with natural yoghurt and cinnamon for breakfast or combine them with a rich buttery pastry case to make this delicious fig, almond and honey frangipane tart.
For the shortcrust pastry:
250g plain flour
125g cold unsalted butter
1tbsp caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Pinch of salt
For the frangipane filling:
100g caster sugar
125g softened unsalted butter
1 and a half tbsp honey
1tsp vanilla paste
40g plain flour
170g ground almonds
8-10 ripe figs
More honey to brush over the top
Grease a round loose-bottomed fluted tart case with some soft unsalted butter.
To make the pastry, add the plain flour, cold butter, salt and caster sugar to a food processor. Blitz on high speed until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency. With the food processor running on medium, gradually add in the beaten egg and a few teaspoons of cold water until the mixture begins to form a dough and is brought together. Tip the dough out of the food processor onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 45mins-1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the frangipane filling.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric whisk until soft and creamy. Whisk in the sugar, honey and vanilla paste until combined. Then gradually whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Tip in the flour and ground almonds and continue to whisk until everything is fully combined and you have a smooth batter.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (fan.) Put a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven to heat up. (I use one with holes in at this helps to make sure the pastry cooks underneath.)
Remove the pastry from the fridge and tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out into a large circle to the thickness of around a 1 pound coin.
Carefully lift the pastry over the tart case and then push it into the fluted sides to line it. At this point, keep the extra pastry hanging over the edge of the tart case.
Line the tart case with baking paper and then top with baking beans (or rice or any other heavy grain.) Blind bake the tart case in the preheated oven on the hot baking tray for 10-12 minutes. Then remove the baking beans and baking paper and bake the pastry for another 3-4 minutes until starting to turn golden brown. Remove the tart case from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.
Then using a sharp knife, run it along the edges of the tart case to remove the excess pastry and to leave you a neat edge to the tart.
Fill the pastry case with the frangipane mixture, spreading it out evenly.
Using a sharp knife, cut each fig into 6 equal pieces and then arrange them on top of the frangipane mixture, pushing them down slightly into the batter.
Once you are happy with the pattern, return the tart to the oven at 180 degrees C (fan) and bake for 25 minutes. (Reduce the heat to 170 degrees C (fan) after 15 minutes of baking time.)
After this initial 25 minutes, cover the tart with 2 layers of tinfoil. This will stop the top form burning but will allow the tart to cook the whole way through. Return it to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the frangipane has risen slightly and is cooked through. Uncover the tart and brush the top with a little warmed honey to give it a shine. Return the tart to the oven, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool.
Serve still warm with creme fraiche or ice cream.