In the Kitchen :: Figs Gone Wild
I was recently bestowed 4 entire flats of fresh figs. We're talking a couple hundred figs, easy. My first thought, send a massive thank you to the California Fig Board. Second thought, what the hell to do with a bounty of beautiful figs ASAP before they go bad.
1. Start the fall off with a lovely dose of generosity and give some away to a lucky few foodie friends.
2. Make a BIG batch of fig compote with vanilla bean and bourbon. Perfect for making any number of dishes a little more exciting. I've currently been spooning it into my morning yogurt along with chopped pecans.
3. Serve up fresh and pretty on a cheese platter with proscuitto and gorgonzola or as a lovely little snack with black pepper yogurt, proscuitto and honey (disclaimer: that gorgeous pic below is via Tomas Curi, exec chef at Corsino, who was one of the lucky recipients).
4. Bake up the rest in a series of fig tarts and distribute to friends, family, office mates, the coffee shop dude...really anyone who will take a few figs off my hands. The tarts were a winner, so I'm including the recipe below. I played around with gorgonzola and goat cheese - both versions were delicious depending on your mood.
Fig Tart :: with Goat Cheese, Honey and Lemon Verbena
Serves :: 12
Almond Tart Crust
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon verbena
1 3/4 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 to 4 ounces of goat cheese or gorgonzola
3 tablespoons honey, divided
fresh cracked black pepper
about 3 cups fresh figs, quartered
In a bowl, whisk together both flours, salt and lemon verbena.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. [You can also use a food processor to mix the dough, pulsing on and off for about 2 minutes.]
Mix in the egg and the yolk until well-incorporated. Add the flour mixture in half at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each half is added.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. You'll have an extra disc remaining which can be frozen for later use - it's great as a base crust for any type of fruit tart.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out 1 ball of dough for the crust. Press gently into a 12” tart pan with removable bottom and fork a few holes in the bottom. Cover with tin foil and spread about 1 cup of dry beans or pie weights over tops and blind bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble goat cheese or gorgonzola over top. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons honey over cheese and dust with a bit of black pepper. Arrange fig quarters in concentric circles around the tart. Drizzle remaining honey over top.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until crust is golden brown and figs are nice and soft and glistening. Serve warm or at room temperature.