“Just peeeeeked theeeeese morning, beeeeeter than Cal-i-for-n-ia!” was what Ivan, the fig guy with the not-quite-discernible accent, said every week as the look on my face seriously questioned his pricing. Let’s just say they didn’t come cheap. But they were delicious, local, and only available for a short time. I bought a container every week.
It would have been wrong to do anything to those figs aside from eat them fresh (maybe with a little brie) but it did get me thinking about what else I could do with figs before their season ended. I knew I wanted to use my new rectangular tart pan for one of my Rosh Hashana desserts, so put the two and two together for this fig tart with a honey-pistachio filling.
As incredible as it would have probably been with Ivan’s figs, it would have made for one very pricey tart. Luckily his season was over so I couldn’t even be tempted to splurge. Regular California ones from Trader Joe’s worked just fine. The filling itself was a bit on the sweet side – appropriate for the New Year, but I would probably cut the sugar the next time around.
The only major issue I had was with the cooking time. The original recipe (which called for butter and almonds – I subbed parve butter and pistachios) said 25 minutes. At that point, my filling was still mostly raw and the figs just starting to soften. Afraid the edges would burn if left in too long, I tented some foil over the top and baked it for another 25 minutes. At that point, the filling was set and the fruit sunken in and jammy, which was just what I was looking for.
(and yes, I also made an apple cake. . . will try and post that over the weekend!)
honey pistachio fig tart
(tart shell adapted from Paula Shoyer’s The Kosher Baker, filling adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1 cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons parve butter, cut into pieces and frozen for 30 minutes
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons parve butter, softened
⅓ cup honey
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
16 figs, stems removed, sliced in half through the stem side
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
1. Prepare tart shell. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and parve butter until mixture looks like sand. Add the egg yolk, cold water and vanilla and process again until the dough comes together into a ball. You may want to turn out the dough into a large bowl and finish the process with a wooden spoon or by hand. Dough will be soft, but if it is very soft and sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Place ball of dough on a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap tightly. Store in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer overnight. (If you freeze it overnight, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes until you can roll it out.)
2. To prepare filling, clean out food processor as you’ll be using it again. Combine parve butter, honey and confectioners’ sugar in food processor fitted with metal blade. Add the ground pistachios and cardamom and process again. Add cornstarch and blend again, then add egg and egg yolk. Process again until fully combined. Pour filling into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut two pieces of parchment paper a few inches larger than a 4×13 inch rectangular tart pan and sprinkle one piece lightly with flour. Unwrap dough and place on floured parchment, then sprinkle with a bit more flour. Place second piece of parchment on top of dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough into a elongated oval, about 1-2 inches larger than tart pan on all sides. Remove top piece of parchment and place on a baking sheet.
4. Carefully lift up bottom piece of parchment and flip it over the tart pan, so the dough is centered over the pan. Peel off parchment paper and press dough into pan. Being a soft dough, it will tear in places. Take excess dough scraps and fill in where needed, pressing evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Gently press rolling pin across tart pan to trim edges.
5. Pour pistachio filling into pan, using a knife or offset spatula to spread evenly. Place fig halves face up in two columns down the tart pan, keeping them close together but not touching. You should be able to fit 8 halves on each side. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
6. Place tart pan on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes and check to see how done it is – filling should firm up slightly, puff up and turn a light golden brown. If still raw in places but cooked at the edges, tent a piece of tin foil over tart pan and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, checking every so often so the tart doesn’t get overcooked. Transfer to a rack to cool completely in pan, then remove right before serving. Cut into 8 strips or 16 squares.