Monday, January 30, 2017

Fig Tart

My mom restricted our diets a bit growing up. She didn't really let us eat much sugar or salt and she never really indulged is with processed foods. That doesn't mean she never let us have dessert. The thing is, to mom, dessert meant cutting up some fruit; it's a Korean thing. But I think that's why I'm always drawn to desserts made with fruit. It makes the dessert seem more appropriate, I guess. Maybe it's a nostalgia thing.

My favorite dessert is fruit tart. I love pie crust, so that's a checkmark right there. I love custard so that's a second checkmark. And I love fruit; triple winner.

I just want to get a little bit off topic, but also vehemently on topic for a second; I'm pleased with the timing of this post. Fig trees symbolize peace and plenty. With the way things are playing out in America's politics right now, we really need peace. We have plenty and we should be sharing. I read a quote recently, "Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It's not pie." (or tart, ha!) and it made me smile but it also made me sad that there are people who don't realize this. I'm disheartened, but I'm doing what I personally can with prayer and good thoughts, donating to the ACLU, and standing strong with my fellow Americans who believe in what's right.
Ingredients [serves 8 to 12]:
crust
1 batch pie dough

custard
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

toppings
2 tablespoons apricot jam
6 to 8 figs, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey

Start with the crust. Make the dough and chill.
Roll the dough out and press it into a quarter sheet pan. Dock the bottom with a fork (to help release steam and prevent it from puffing up) and then bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes or until it starts to go golden on the edges.
To make the custard, start by adding the cream to a pot along with the scraped vanilla caviar and the vanilla bean. Pop it onto the hob over medium and heat until scalding.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk until pale.
Temper the yolks with a bit of cream and then slowly whisk in the remaining hot cream until combined.
Pour the custard base back into the pot and slowly heat up over low, whisking continuously. Cook the custard until it just comes to a boil and then remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 4 hours.
Slice up the figs.
Spread a little apricot jam onto the bottom of the crust and then pour in the custard.
Place the figs on top. Sprinkle the top with lemon zest and then drizzle on some honey.
Chill the tart for 1 hour before cutting and serving.
I couldn't resist so I cut into the tart a little early, before the custard completely set up.
I love the simple presentation of this tart. The figs are juicy and sweet, the custard is rich and creamy, the crust is buttery and flaky, and together they shine. The lemon zest adds a fruity, delicious scent and the honey is the perfect finishing touch.

And if figs aren't available or they're out of season, there are plenty of delicious substitutes like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears (which should be brushed with simple syrup spiked with lemon juice to prevent oxidizing), kiwis, or a combination of all of the above.
Here's the recipe page

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