Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fig Tartlets

Martha Stewart Living, August 2007
  • Yield Makes 8


  • For the Dough

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • For the Filling

    • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) creme fraiche
    • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • For the Roasted Figs

    • 1 cup ruby port
    • 3 star anise
    • 3 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    • 2 strips orange zest (3 inches long and 1 inch wide), plus zest curls for garnish
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
    • 1 1/2 pounds fresh Black Mission figs (about 24), halved lengthwise


  1. Make the dough: Pulse flour, granulated sugar, salt, and egg yolk in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, gradually add ice water, and process until dough comes together. Divide in half, and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
  2. Make the filling: Beat cream cheese with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in creme fraiche and confectioners' sugar until smooth. (Filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before using.)
  3. Roast the figs: Preheat oven to 350. Combine port, anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, zest, granulated sugar, and honey in a roasting pan. Use the tip of a paring knife to scrape vanilla seeds into port mixture, then add pods. Add figs, and turn to coat. Roast, basting once, until figs are soft and liquid is syrupy, about 45 minutes. Let cool. (Figs and syrup can be refrigerated up to one week.)
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch fluted tartlet pan turned upside down as a guide, cut out 8 rounds. Fit dough into tartlet pans. Prick bottoms with a fork. Place shells on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  5. Bake tartlet shells until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer molds to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons filling into each shell. Top with figs, and drizzle with syrup. Garnish with orange zest. (Tartlets can be refrigerated for up to one hour.) Remove molds and serve immediately.

I love bakery bling, also known as beautiful bakery food.  Every time that I visit a bakery, be it a fine grocery store, or at a local mom-and-pop venue, I'm in heaven.  I love peering inside the shiny glass cases to see the large array of baked goods such as tarts, cannoli and puff pastries.  It is truly a feast for the eye.

Over the years I've grown especially fond of tarts and tartlets.  Once thinking of them as too difficult to make, I'd often shell out close to five dollars for one of these delicacies.  Since our fig tree is booming at the moment with fresh figs, I decided to bring some back to the kitchen to make some fig tartlets.  Now mind you, I was venturing into the unknown land of tart making.  Read on to find out how the process went.

Photo Gallery

Our much-loved fig tree. 
When I was gathering the figs, I nearly tripped over this pumpkin because it was covered in thick vines.  I removed the vines to see Sarah's pumpkin nearly ready for picking.  In mid summer, all of the kids picked out their very own pumpkin and we carved their names on the exterior.  What a surprise this was!
When I came back to the kitchen, I started on the pate brisee.  Wow, I've been making pate brisee a lot recently. 
I quickly zested the orange that was used for both garnishing and for the fig roasting.
I love vanilla beans!  Shown here (on the fig-stained cutting board) is the removal of the vanilla 
seeds that were used in the syrup.
Once the figs were sliced, I added the port wine, star anise, vanilla seeds, cinnamon sticks and the peppercorns ( I had not yet added the orange zest).  Once it began to roast, the oven was fuming with the delicious aromas of sweet fig, cinnamon, anise and orange. 
Next, I started on the tartlet shells.  My dad bought these tartlet pans for me over ten years ago and this was my first time ever using them. Hey, better late than never. 
I'm still working on getting them to shape nicely, but I guess it's not too bad for my first time making tartlet shells.  Next time, I will not be so afraid of firmly pressing the corners in to get that pretty fluted crust.
Here is the sour cream and creme fraiche filling. 
I smoothed out the centers to get the tartlets ready for the delicious roasted fig topping.
I made sure to save a fig tartlet just for Jordan's arrival home from school. 
Guess he's not a fig kind-of-guy, but he smiled anyway to show his appreciation.  However, Ben and I especially enjoyed this dessert.  The sweet figs combined with the slightly sour filling proved to be a keeper.  Figs have a very sweet flavor and so I really liked the sour cream addition as it seemed to balance the flavors nicely. 

~Just Dessert~

1 comment:

Simple Elegance said...

Morgan, you out did yourself this time.

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