Aaaaand it’s weekly recipe post time! You will be getting more recipes soon as now with the folks back I now have enough mouths to feed and so can give my inner baking beast a bit of a longer leash 😉
Last week as I finished my visit to The Butcher’s Block and was walking down the road to my car, I was passing by the Wahroonga shops when I saw a kebab place had set up a table outside with trays of very ripe figs for sale. 11 figs for $15, what a bargain! I had been wanting to experiment cooking with figs for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity. Selecting a box, I paid for them and went by Kulinary Adventures of Kaths’ house where she has an extensive collection of cookbooks to see what I could do with them.
I had been thinking of a fig and mascarpone tart, and my friend pointed out a recipe for one from My Favourite Food for All Seasons by Janelle Bloom. I had originally been considering making a fresh mascarpone and fig tart like my Berry, Honey & Mascarpone Tarts, however I have some friends I’ve been wanting to thank recently and thought this would make a good gift; thus a baked mascarpone tart would travel better. I also thought it was more appropriate to bake the mascarpone, as looking at the tarts afterwards, it looked like a very autumnal dessert; it suited the weather perfectly!
The recipe states that it serves eight when a large single tart is baked, however I personally prefer having individual tart shells as this means I can make the shortcrust pastry very thin and crisp, rolling it out until it’s so semi-transparent I can see the shadow of my hand behind it when I flip it onto the tart case. My tart cases are quite shallow but wide, about 12 centimetres in diameter and I couldn’t really pour much of the mascarpone mix into them as the figs took up a lot of space. Therefore you may have a bit remaining when you use this recipe.
I’ve used my own tried and tested shortcrust pastry recipe here, as well as switching a few other elements of the recipe.
This recipe will yield you eight servings, whether you have a single whole tart or eight individuals.
You will need:
For the pastry:
- 250g plain flour;
- 125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped;
- 80g sifted icing sugar;
- 2 egg yolks.
For the topping:
- 1/2C raw walnuts;
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup;
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar.
For the filling:
- 6 medium fresh figs, halved;
- 2 tablespoons white sugar;
- 2 eggs;
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste;
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar;
- 1 tablespoon cornflour;
- 200ml thickened cream;
- 250g mascarpone cheese.
For the pastry, process the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg yolks and a tablespoon of chilled water in a bowl until combined, then with the food processor running, add to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping the machine before the mixture forms a ball. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Cut your pastry into eight and then roll them out between two sheets of baking paper to fit the tart tins. Line the tin and pierce the base with a fork. Trim the edges, lay in a sheet of baking paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Bake for 10 minutes before removing the weights and baking for a further 10 minutes or until golden.
Combine the walnuts, maple syrup and icing sugar in a bowl. Spread onto a sheet of baking paper, then place onto a tray into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
Slice your figs. My tart tins were a bit shallow so I had to slice the figs into thirds. I realised there wasn’t much point in sugaring the centre third, as it just had so much water content that it just fell apart when I was cooking them.
Press the cut side of the figs into the white sugar.
I originally tried blow-torching the figs but as much fun as playing with my blowtorch always is, it was just too time consuming so I ended up pulling out the frying pan.
In a large frying pan, over a high heat place the fig halves sugar side down into the pan. Cook for one minute or until golden. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining figs.
Ignore the face-side up figs in the picture below, they fell apart miserably but were good with my granola the next morning.
Arrange the sugared figs over the tart bases.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone and cream together using a handheld mixer at low speed. Gently beat in the eggs, vanilla, sugar and cornflour until just combined. You don’t want a big, frothy mixture. Pour this around your figs before returning them to the oven.
For a large tart, bake it for about 35-40 minutes, but for individual ones they will only need 20-25 minutes. The tarts are done when the mascarpone is just set in the centre and very lightly golden and puffy (the puffiness will deflate as they cool).
Aaand because I had a lot of mixture but didn’t want to use up all of my figs on the one recipe, I also caramelised slices of a nectarine that wasn’t very sweet and made nectarine mascarpone tarts as well!
The tarts are best served warm with the walnut crumble and freshly whipped cream.
Deliciousness. With a crisp, flaky and buttery shell, creamy mascarpone dotted with vanilla bean seeds and juicy, caramelised figs slightly singed and crispy around the edges, I received rave comments from the friends I had gifted these to.
I had given one the evening they were made to Girl from the Bus post-Zumba class (*guilty face*) and she sent me one text afterwards simply saying ‘Amazeballs’, and then a more detailed one a little later: ‘Oh my gosh sooo good!!! Love the pastry and the filling especially!!! Better than you can get at the shops by far!!!!’ I was chuffed, to say the least 🙂
Tarts are best eaten on the day they’re made (good luck with that if you make eight individual tarts like I did!) or else they are best kept in the fridge until ready to be eaten as humidity and the moisture in the filling will make the pastry soften.
Enjoy the rest of your week, m’dears! Catch you on Friday xx