fig and frangipane tart. Mmmmm. It's what the pastry chef and I make once every 10 or so days when it's fig season here (one more month to go). When it's my turn to make it, I often tuck a handful of raspberries with the figs into the almond cream. Before figs come in, we use peaches. When figs come into season here, we'll run a special: roasted figs with rose petal ice cream.
I saw a nice recipe in one of the food magazines where figs were wrapped with a slice of bacon and then grilled.
But I really like eating figs just out of hand. It's a real experience. The affair begins when I select them, finding the once that yield completely to my touch. I love the way a ripe, heavy fig hangs from my fingertips when I pluck them from the table. At home, I enjoy the feel of the slightly fuzzy very smooth skin on my lips before I pinch off the stem and take my first nibble. The second fig always get split open so that I can lick the drop of nectar in the rosy center of the fruit before eating the rest of it.
Figs are so s*xy . It's so feminine and masculine at the same time.
[ July 01, 2001: Message edited by: monpetitchoux ]
Monpetitchoux, you and I are on the same page. Now that I don't eat large amounts of fruit, one or two figs are a great treat and worth saving room for in the day's menu. I visited Greece one year in June/July, and was devastated to leave just a couple of weeks before the harvest. Everywhere we went, we saw trees laden with these lucious fruits. Some day I'll plan to travel there in time for the harvest!
Thanks for the inspiration ya'll! My mouth is watering...
I've been trying to run with the fig as a sensual fruit --
My honeymooner's dessert platter - rich buttery shortcake sticks dipped in bittersweet chocolate, strawberries (some perfectly red and plain, others dipped in dark chocolate), beautiful, perfectly ripe figs, bursting with flavour, a little champagne glass (don't know what they are called) full of freshly whipped cream all presented on a gorgeous green fig leaf...
I like the idea of the cheese-filled figs - again with the idea that they are so perfect to feed one another.
I have to admit that a lot of our guests have never seen a fresh fig and thus are not sure what to do with it - the cream and figs goes well.
1. Cut a loaf of brioche into 1/2-inch-thick slices; toast, and cut each slice in half on the diagonal. Spread each half with a thick layer of mascarpone and sliced figs. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
2. Match the strong flavor of a perfectly ripe fig with the equally distinctive flavors of Roquefort cheese and a corner of honeycomb. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.
3. Submerge thinly sliced tender figs, dark or green, in a bowl of chilled, heavy cream, remove, and sprinkle with brown sugar.
4. Enliven a salad by tossing slivered figs with peppery greens, toasted hazelnuts, and a splash of vinegar.
5. Pair a fig with prosciutto and cracked pink peppercorns, and sandwich it between two slices of wheat bread.
6. FIG TART (Serves 8 to 10)
Sweetened crème fraîche, red-wine glaze, and a cornmeal crust give this fresh fig tart a sophisticated edge. Look for fresh figs in late summer, when they've had ample time to ripen on the tree.
The crumbly cornmeal crust used in this recipe is a little harder to roll out than regular dough, so chill it first, which will make it easier to work with. I like to grate the chilled dough with a box grater, pressing the grated bits into a tart tin in order to give it a rustic texture.
For the crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
Nonstick cooking spray, or unsalted butter
For the filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 pint black or purple figs, stemmed and quartered
For the glaze:
1/4 cup fig or red-currant jam
2 tablespoons red wine
1. Cream together the butter and granulated sugar in bowl of an electric mixer, about 2 minutes. Add yolks, and mix just to combine. Whisk together the dry ingredients, and add to the yolk mixture; mix just until it comes together loosely. Transfer the dough to plastic wrap, press together, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, until firm.
2. Prepare a 4 1/2-by-14-inch rectangular fluted tart tin with cooking spray or butter. Roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Discard the top plastic wrap, and gently invert dough over the prepared tart tin. Discard the remaining piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough into tin, and trim so the dough is flush to edges. Repair tears or cracks by pressing dough together with your fingers. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the crust several times with a fork, and bake on the middle rack of oven until the crust begins to color, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, remove from the pan. Place on a serving platter or board.
4. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until smooth. Add the crème fraîche and confectioners' sugar, and beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Spread the filling into the cooled crust, and arrange the figs on top, pressing them in slightly.
5. To make the glaze, combine the jam and wine in a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer until mixture is thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly, and brush warm glaze over figs with a pastry brush. Chill the tart in the refrigerator if not serving right away. Serve within several hours.