OK, this tart is INCREDIBLE! I don’t know if I will find the arrangement of words to fully capture it’s beauty – you will simply have to make it.
Crisp, sweet pastry, gooey, nutty, citrussy filling topped with sweet, jammy roasted figs. Amazing.
I’m sharing this with you amidst filling out forms and job hunting and house hunting. I gave up my University course last month, which was a big deal. I haven’t given up on University, just that course. Despite my working background in development, the degree (Politics and Development) just wasn’t right for me, nor was the institution itself. I sat back and looked at my life and at myself and identified my major passions. I got these down to food and cooking, animals and development/street children. So the degree linked to development didn’t work nor did I need it to pursue this passion (I haven’t had a degree the past five years) so that was ruled out. Food was next, I found some amazing food and cooking degrees but I had to give up the idea as I wouldn’t be able to deal with the meat! So that left me with animals and I think even after all the considering this was the best idea all along. I love animals and can really see myself working with them, after all I have thirteen pets! So, in September I will start a degree in Animal Management and I am so excited!
In terms of house hunting, we are looking to move nearer to where my University is in the Tonbridge area of Kent from London. I am currently filling out an application for a beautiful house surrounded by nothing but fields – perfect! So fingers crossed!
So, back to the amazing tart. It is rather rich so serve in small slices and go back for more if you can manage it! I served this with softly whipped Chantilly cream, but ice cream or plain cream would be wonderful also, or it is simply divine alone, moist enough not to ‘need’ an accompaniment.
Adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine, October 2003.
Ingredients: Serves 12
- 500g shortcrust pastry (original recipe uses ready made which is fine, but I made a quick sweet pastry in the food processor using 350g plain flour, 1/2tsp salt, 175g solid vegetable fat, 2tbsp sugar and enough water needed to bind – blitz flour, salt and sugar then add cubed fat and pulse just until breadcrumb like with pea sized lumps still visible, then add the water a tbsp at a time and pulse just until coming together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes).
- 4-8 fresh figs
- One large orange
- 1tbsp agave syrup (or rice syrup, sweet freedom etc)
- 200g each of vegan margarine, unrefined caster sugar and ground almonds
- 1 egg replacement
- Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6/350F. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a shallow loose-bottomed 25cm flan tin or a deeper 8 inch round sandwich cake tin. Make sure the pastry comes above the rim – it may shrink in baking and the filling could spill. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the figs in half lengthways and sit them cut side up on a roasting tray. Mix the orange juice from the already zested orange (don’t juice before zesting!) and syrup in a bowl, pour over the figs and roast for 10-12 minutes until just soft. Drain off any juice into a saucepan and reserve.
- Prick the base of the chilled pastry case all over with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or dried rice or pulses. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to fan 130C/conventional 150C/ gas 2/260F. Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling.
- Cream margarine and sugar in a food processor or with an electric beater until smooth and pale. Tip in the ground almonds and zest and whizz briefly to combine. Add egg replacer and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth. Spread evenly over the pastry case.
- Gently press the figs cut side up into the almond mixture. Bake for 11⁄4 hours or until it’s golden all over (don’t worry if the centre still seems soft – a little gooeyness is good). Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove sides and transfer on its base to a wire rack to cool.
- Before serving, take the tart off its base and transfer to a flat platter or board. If you have juice left from roasting the figs, bring it to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes until sticky and syrupy. Brush this over the figs and serve as soon as possible, while the syrup is still glossy on the figs (it will start to seep through into the filling if you leave it too long).
- Dust with icing sugar and serve in slices.