They remind me of the fig tree we had in our backyard in our previous home. The tree produced and produced...crop after crop. Alas, one can only eat so many figs in so many dishes! So, we also bagged them up and shared.
I also learned that the fig leaf is the absolute best leaf for making leaf prints. During the years that I was in the classroom, we always made fall leaf prints....the leaves held up really well and the end result became bulletin board borders. They always ushered in the fall colors and looked so pretty. I guess because of the figs, fig leaves, the starting of school and the prints I associate fig trees with the fall...but, today, I am premature. We are in the middle of another heat wave and fall is far off in the distance.
As I searched for fig recipes, I found myself paging through Nigel Slater's cookbook, Ripe. It is a wonderful combination of fruit history, personal experience in the garden and cooking. He makes everything appear so easy to make which is why I decided to make the Fig Upside-Down Tart. You know how I shy away from making things with a crust..... I like having a resource like Ripe in the kitchen and I believe that you would find it a great resource, also.
Fig Upside-Down Tart
adapted from Ripe, by Nigel Slater
Yield: 8 servings
3/4 cup butter, unsalted, and cut into small cubes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp baker's sugar
5 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
10 figs, halved and tough stems removed
1/2 tsp vanilla
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cream fraiche.
In a medium bowl cut the butter into the flour for the pastry. Use your fingers rubbing until the combination looks like bread crumbs. (A food processor may be used, if preferred.) Mix in the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Form the mixture into a disk. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for twenty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
In a fry pan or saute pan (measuring 8-9 inches) melt the butter and brown sugar, over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the mixture appears syrupy and begins to brown, add the figs, cut side down. Cook the figs for three to five minutes, until they soften and start to darken. Remove the pan from the heat.
Roll out the pastry to make a circle that is about 3/4 inch larger than the diameter of the pan. Fold the extra pastry over to make a rim around the edge. Carefully move the pastry by wrapping it lightly around the rolling pin and then move it onto the pan. Place the pastry rim-side down over top of the figs.
Place in the oven and bake for about 18-23 minutes, until the pastry is browned. Remove from the oven to cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of cream fraiche.
The tart had great flavor. The sugars had caramelized around the figs making them taste really nice.....the pastry was quite buttery and even though it was a challenge moving it, I would make it again!
The only thing I questioned was the baking temperature and time. The original recipe said to bake the tart at 425° F. for 40 minutes. I didn't think that there was enough liquid in the filling to bake it that long so I checked on it at about 23 minutes. It had browned up nicely so I removed it from the oven. I adjusted the baking time to reflect what I did. If you decide to make this tart I suggest that you keep an eye on it!