Saturday, 24 September 2011

Fig Tarts and Lunch with Cuisine de Provence!

In France it was the end of the fig season and everyone was making the most of them. What a delectable fruit! Luckily here in Turkey the season is in full swing so I will definitely be making a fig tart or two myself following the example of my good friends below:

fig tart before adding the topping

That dinner with friend Jenny who made the pork dish with fig brochettes, dessert was also ‘very figgy’ as she put it. So easy: all you need is the pastry base – she bought puff pastry for hers – and then fill it with the figs cut in quarters sprinkled with a little icing sugar.  Dot the whole with knobs of butter which melt during the cooking and make the tart moist and flavoursome.  The addition of chopped pistachios caramelised with the icing sugar is the final touch. Except Jenny didn’t use pistachio nuts as apparently the shelled variety isn't as readily available in France as here. She used walnuts and we decided that actually they were a better alternative.What do you think?
Fig Tart with Walnuts
Enough of your favourite pastry, home-made or shop-bought, to line a 20cm/8 in flan ring or slightly larger
15 fresh figs (depends on size)
30g/1 1/2 oz butter (for adding on top of the figs before cooking)
50g/3 1/2 oz walnuts or pistachios, shelled and chopped
20g/1oz icing sugar + 1 soup spoon
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Line your flan ring with the pastry. Wash and dry the figs and then cut into quarters. Arrange in the tin. Cut the butter in knobs and scatter over the figs. Sprinkle the 20g icing sugar over the tart and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, take the chopped walnuts or pistachios and caramelise with the soup spoon of icing sugar in a frying pan. Allow to cool before sprinkling over the cooked fig tart.

a slice of fig tart served with creme fraiche
After  saying goodbye to Jenny and Michel and leaving St Cyr, we drove a couple of hours or so away from the coast to Vaison-la-Romaine, a new destination for us, where we had been invited to lunch by my lovely blogging friend Barbara from Cuisine de Provence!  I enjoy her blog very much because it's related to a part of France I love. We had never met before but I had a strong feeling that we were going to get on. It’s funny how by commenting regularly on a blog, you build up a relationship. Sure enough, it turned out to be a really lovely occasion as both she and her husband are absolutely delightful and consummate hosts.

We sat outside on their spacious terrace in the garden where Barbara had laid a beautiful table.
lunch in Barbara's garden

She was clever as the lunch was delicious but at the same time light with different tastes of typical Provençal foods. Plus of course delicious chilled rosé wine! Just the thing for late summer.

And dessert was another fig tart! This time offset with little knobs of goat cheese and toasted pine nuts, every bit as delicious as Jenny’s. You can read Barbara's post about her fig tree and subsequent tart by clicking here. BTW Barbara also offers cooking classes which sound great fun!

Just look at this fig tart:
delicious fig tart by Cuisine de Provence

Are you surprised I put on weight on this trip??