Fig, Honey and Almond Tart

This tart, taken from Patricia Wells’ book At Home In Provence, has prompted people to swear that I’ve done a stealth mission to some Parisienne patisserie! It is heavenly and oh! so easy.

As you’ll see further down the recipe, you can also use raspberries or apricots, the raspberry version being by far the simpler because you don’t have to cook them.

You could serve this with a scoop of vanilla or honey ice cream but, honestly, I think it’s perfect on its own.

You will need a 23cm fluted tart tin with a removable bottom.

For the crust

unsalted butter for greasing tart tin

125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

90g sugar

1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

180g plain flour

2 tablespoons ground almonds

For the cream

100ml double cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

2 tablespoons raw full flavoured honey

1 tablespoon plain flour

about 750g figs (or apricots, stoned and halved)

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C or gas mark 4

2. Butter the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar and stir to blend with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE GROUND ALMONDS, and stir this form a soft, biscuit like dough. Do not let it form a ball. Transfer the dough to the buttered tart tin. Using the tips of your fingers, evenly press the pastry along the bottom and sides of the tin. The dough will be quite thin.

4. Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake until the dough is slightly puffy and set, about 12-15 minutes. Take the tin out of the oven. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the bottom of the crust. (This will stop the crust from getting soggy).

5. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, combine the cream, egg, extracts and honey and whisk to blend. Whisk in the flour. Starting just inside the edge of the pastry, neatly overlap the halved figs, cut side up, at a slight angle, in to 2 or 3 concentric circles, working towards the centre. Fill the centre with the remaining figs. Pour the cream mixture evenly over the fruit.

6. Place in the centre of the oven and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry a deep golden brown, 50-60 minutes. The figs may shrivel slightly. Remove to a rack to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.

Variation — Raspberry Tart

You can make the same tart with fresh raspberries by prebaking the dough as directed, adding the cream and baking again until the filling is firm and the pastry brown (about 10 minutes). Remove the pastry case from the oven and allow to cool. When you’re ready to serve, arrange a single layer of raspberries on top of the filling. Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.