She wasn't getting back to me
She always gets back to me
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At least twenty-four hours had passed since I'd appeared on her doorstep bearing a fig tart, and so far nothing, zero, zip, no feedback. It wasn't like her, and I was getting a bit worried
I've come to realize there are a couple of different philosophies when it comes to sharing a new recipe.
In one camp are those who simply share and let the chips fall where they may. In the other are those who know even the best of dishes can be made just a little bit better. They present their newest creation and ask for feedback, with a genuine interest in hearing it (good or bad)
These seekers of recipe perfection are quick to realize those who are gifted in the art of giving it.
“Your ice cream isn't bad, my dear, although it's not quite where it needs to be. Here, let me take another bite.”
Thinking .. thinking ..
“Flavor's good, not too sweet, good consistency. No, something's off with the mouthfeel. Honestly, I'm not sure you're whisking your custard right. It's almost like there's too much air in it. It's tricky; next time try doing it like so.”
“Here's the thing about the tart.”
She paused and drew in a big breath
“It was good; exceptionally good.”
“But? What is it?”
“I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be lunch or dessert. So I had it for both.”
I've decided she's right. It can certainly be both
It's a cheese and fruit dish baked together. With almond paste to soak up the juices and flavors, creating the most luscious layer of rich, nutty sweetness
It's an afternoon treat on a summer's day
It's a sweet and savory breakfast combo
It's especially delicious with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir
It can be eaten with your fingers
Or delicately nibbled with your grandmother's fancy silver dessert forks
It's extra delicious with a salad of greens and warm anchovy vinaigrette
It's a hit with children (and grandchildren!)
ps: A few notes about the recipe
If you'd rather not make the pastry by hand, a pre-made puff pastry works great
When figs aren't available, the tart can be made with other fresh fruit (ex: apricots, pears, or strawberries)
— — —
Fig and Goat Cheese Tart
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour + more for dusting
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. fast-acting, rapid rise yeast
- Grated zest of ½ of a lemon (organic is best here)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup water
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into ¾" cubes
- ¼ cup water
- Coconut oil for brushing
- 5 oz soft goat cheese
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ tsp orange zest (organic is best here)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves + more for garnish
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup ground almonds
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice + more as needed
- 12 ripe figs, halved lengthwise (~ 1 ½ lbs)
- 1 Tbsp superfine sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375° F
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest on low for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs and water and work for a few seconds on low-speed before increasing the speed to medium and kneading for 3 minutes, until the dough has come together
- Add the salt and the butter, a few cubes at a time, until all have been thoroughly incorporated into the dough.
- Continue kneading on medium speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl and sprinkling a small amount of flour on the sides to the prevent the dough from sticking, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny (~ 10 minutes)
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, and preferably overnight.
- It will increase in volume, but only by about one-fourth
- In a bowl, combine the goat cheese with 1 Tbsp of the powdered sugar, orange zest, thyme and three-quarters of the beaten eggs.
- Whisk until smooth and then stir in the ground almonds. Mix until smooth.
- Whisk the remaining powdered sugar with the lemon juice.
- You're going for an icing that's thick yet spreadable, so add a bit more lemon juice or powdered sugar as needed
- Fig and Goat Cheese Tart
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the pastry into an 11" square ¼" thick.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the pastry around the rolling pin to help you transfer it to the baking sheet.
- Spread the goat cheese mixture on top, leaving a border of about ⅔ inch.
- Brush the remaining egg over the border.
- Stand the figs on top of the mixture, placing them cut side up and slightly overlapping, as they'll shrink while cooking.
- Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the figs, cover the tart with aluminum foil and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and place the tart in the oven.
- Bake until the figs are caramelized and the bottom of the pastry is golden brown (~ 30 minutes)
- Remove the tart from the oven and use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the figs.
- Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and eat warm or at room temp