Fig Tart

Looking over my Top Chef Cookbook, I have been inspired to cook some of the dishes. I recently made Elia’s  roasted chicken with vegetables dish, and it turned out very well. I had originally wanted to make Harold’s Roasted Fig tart to pair along with my Top Chef meal, but you know how it goes when you try to make everything from scratch. You are sometimes shooting for the impossible when you start the day of to make your fancy meal. So I bookmarked the recipe for a later date, and made sure to make it before fig season ended again. I had planned on making a Key Lime pie for our “end of summer bbq” and I wanted one more dessert to make for everyone to enjoy.

Funny thing, I have bookmarked this recipe since I have owned the book, ummm that’s since 2008. Yikes, I have been waiting for fig season every time it comes around during the summer months but cuckoo cook brains like me can be forgetful unless I have the cookbook out in the open. I bought most of the elements to this dish and I was waiting for another visit to the farmers markets to pick up a batch of figs. I haven’t been able to find them at the grocery stores, but I was randomly shopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up some two buck chuck and saw a big basket of figs on display. It was meant to be, and finally set on the task of making is delightful tart. Finding the pairing cheeses was the harder task, so I served it without the cheeses and the family enjoyed the fig tart all by itself.  I loved the nutty pine nut crust paired with the smooth fresh fig tart. Totally Harold-worthy, and a great way to end a meal!

Harold’s Roasted Fig Tart
Adapted from Top Chef Cookbook (show) Top Chef, Season 1, Episode 12 Ingredients: 2/3 cup pine nuts 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar Pinch of salt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 large egg yolk ½ cup fresh figs
½ cup sugar 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved 1 cup heavy cream 4 large eggs

1 ounce fig jam

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the pine nuts and pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until finely ground. Add the butter, egg yolk, and 2 tablespoons water into the food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Form the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. In a medium saucepan, cook the figs, sugar, 3⁄4 cup water, and the vanilla bean and seeds for 15 to 20 minutes, until the figs are tender. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the heavy cream, cream cheese and blend to combine. Slowly add the eggs and blend to combine. Set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and remove the plastic. Butter a 9 inch tart with a removable bottom. Pat the dough evenly into the tart pan. Pinch the dough edge so that it’s slightly thick, even, and rises just above the rim. Fit a piece of aluminum foil into the tart shell to help it keep its shape. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. Fill the cooked tart with the fig mixture and bake for 24 to 28 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature Cut into slices and garnish the tart with fig jam on top and place a fresh fig half alongside. Enjoy!

Review: This fig tart was a sad reminder of the late-summer fruits, and very decadent and not too sweet. Everyone was surprised by how much they liked it. Fresh figs may sound unappealing almost like prunes, but in a familiar pie form – everyone fell in love. I’m a big fan of figs, and can’t wait until they return again next year. I’ll make to sure to place the big reminder on my cookbook for it, too!

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