Summer’s End Fig Tart Recipe (crostata con crema e fichi)
According to the calendar summer is over. Fortunately, Milan has been kind to me these past few days providing quite a bit of sunshine and relatively warm weather. The Miami girl in me has been dealing with the transition, cooking up a storm with all the last bits of warm weather produce I can find. Figs are right on the top of the list.
This summer I went to an absolutely fabulous hole in the wall pizzeria called il Mattatoio in Romito. They served the absolutely best focaccia, Parma ham and figs (pizza, prosciutto e fichi) I have ever had. The focaccia was still fresh out of the oven warm. The figs were ripe, sweet, with a little bit of “figgy” tang. And well the prosciutto crudo was just delicious, no other words to describe it.
Since then I’ve been on fig binge. I’ve been buying figs every week. Not to mention lots of fig jam. Then I saw a cover of the Italian Cucina Italiana with a big and beautiful fig tart, and I wanted to make one too. Here is my version of Figs and Cream Tart.
1/3 c (45g) almonds
1 1/4 c (160g) flour
1 tbsp (12g) sugar
1/8 tsp (2g) salt
1/2 c (115g) unsalted butter, chilled
1 tsp (4g) almond abstract
1 1/4 c (300ml) milk (whole or 2%)
3 egg yolks
4 tbsp (60g) sugar
3 tbsp (30g) cornstarch
1 tsp (4g) vanilla
8 – 10 figs
1/2 c (125g) fig jam
1tbsp (6g) water
1/2 tsp (2g) rum
Serves: 6-8. Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
1. Very finely chop almonds in food processor.
2. Add flour, salt, and sugar to almonds. Pulse briefly.
3. Add butter. Pulse until it forms pea sized clumps.
4. Add egg and almond extract. Pulse until starts to form large clump.
5. Remove dough from food processor. Form ball. Place into large freezer bag and roll out into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick disk.
6. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. (or fridge if not baking right away)
7. Preheat oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
While dough is chilling make pastry cream filling
8. Place milk in pot and heat until small bubble just start escaping top of pot. (Try to avoid having the milk form the “plastic” skin. Discard if it does form.) About 2-5 minutes
9. While milk is heating, whisk together eggs and sugar. Then add cornstarch and vanilla.
10. Slowly whisk milk into egg mixture.
11. Place egg and milk mixture back onto the stove. Heat on medium whisking constantly to prevent the formation of clumps. About 3-5 minutes
12. Remove from heat once the cream has thickened. Whisk a few more times, let it cool for about 5 minutes. Then place in bowl.
13. Place plastic wrap directly on top of pastry cream to prevent the formation of “skin”. Refrigerate.
Back to the dough
14. After 15-20 minutes (the time it took you to make the cream), roll out disk into wax paper to 1/3 inch (1cm) thickness
15. Place in tart pan. (it’s ok if it has cracks, just stick it back together)
16. Roll edges of crust even onto pan, with rolling pin. Prick bottom and sides of dough with a fork.
17. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until slightly browned and pulling away from sides of tart pan.
18 Cool for about 5 minutes, then add 3 tbsp of fig jam. Cool for another 15 minutes.
Put it together
19. While crust is cooling cut figs into 6 pieces ea. (or bigger is you prefer)
20. Mix remaining jam with 1 tbsp water and 1/2tsp rum.
21. Once cooled, add cream filling to crust.
22. Top with figs dipped in fig mixture. (or place figs on pastry cream, then brush with fig mixture)