Fig and Walnut Tart

Making this tart is an excellent place to begin if you’ve never made a free form style tart (some refer to this style of pie making as a galette). The dough is a bit tricky at first because getting the right consistency depends so much on the flour you are using and if you are making it by hand or with a machine. But once you get the feel and right consistency, the dough can be used in many ways to produce almost endless varieties of sweet or savory pies.

I love using late summer figs in tarts – just make sure they are a bit on the firm side for baking…and it doesn’t matter if you use green or purple figs. I chose walnuts in this recipe because I like the way they interact with the flavor of the fig – real sweet meets slightly bitter. Feel free to experiment with other nuts like almonds or hazelnuts or make a unique mixture to suit your needs.

Rosemary works very well in small amounts in sweet dishes with fruits. In addition to figs, try using a bit with apricots, apples or pears. Other fresh herbs can also be used…thyme is a nice addition to fruits.

Yield: about 8-10 servings (30-cm or 12-inches)

  • pastry dough
  • 200 grams (1 2/3-cups) all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 ml. (2 1/4 ounces) unprocessed rapeseed oil
  • 60-120 ml. (1/4 to 1/2-cup) water
  • filling
  • 500 grams (1 pound) green figs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 175 grams (6-ounces) walnuts
  • 75 grams (about 2 1/2-ounces) natural brown cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • finishing
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons soymilk
  • Start by making the dough for the tart as this will require about an hour in the refrigerator. I made mine by hand, but you can also use a food processor for this task (see tips below for instructions on using a processor). In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, icing sugar, sea salt, ground ginger and baking powder. Give this mixture a good mix to distribute all ingredients evenly and thoroughly. Add the rapeseed oil and mix with your fingertips to combine. The result should be something resembling damp sand. Add the water, 2 tablespoons at a time and mix well. Start by using the lesser amount and see how the dough holds up. You are looking to create a ball of dough that does not fall apart easily. Work in some more water as necessary to achieve this consistency but be careful to avoid adding too much water or working the dough too much. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  • Work the dough a bit like you would if making puff pastry. Roll out the dough into a rectangle. Brush evenly with a bit of unprocessed rapeseed oil. Fold the left edge toward the right edge to just beyond the halfway point. Now fold the right edge onto the left to create a book type of fold. Rotate the dough 90-degrees and repeat the process 2 more times, making sure to coat the dough a bit with oil after rolling out into a rectangle. Rest the dough for 10 minutes before proceeding.
  • Begin to roll out the dough on a well-floured surface into a round about 30-cm (12-inches). I make sure to roll out the dough on a piece of baking paper, which makes moving the dough much easier. Trim the edges to create a nice circle, then place the entire dough into your refrigerator for 60-90 minutes.
  • Make your filling while the dough is resting. Slice the figs into 1/2-cm (1/4-inch) pieces and place in a bowl. Coat the fig slices with the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Roast the walnuts by placing them onto a baking tray and then into a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 150°C (300°F) and set a timer for 30 minutes. Remove the roasted walnuts and cool them for 10 minutes, then chop fine. Mix the walnuts with the natural brown sugar and chopped rosemary.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  • Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator. Place the ground nut and sugar mixture directly onto the tart dough, making sure to leave about 2,5-cm (1-inch) border. Place the sliced figs onto the nut/sugar mixture and arrange evenly. Fold up the edges and pleat the dough to create an attractive border.
  • Add the apricot jam to a small pan with 1 tablespoon of water. Heat just long enough to loosen the jam and make it runny. Coat the figs lightly with a bit of the jam. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil and soymilk and lightly coat the border of the tart. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, making sure to remove the tart every 20 minutes to place a coating of soymilk/olive oil on the dough. The tart is done when the dough is golden brown. Remove the tart, cool it for 10 minutes, then apply an even coating of apricot jam on the fruit and the dough edges to create a nice shiny appearance.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

To make the dough in a food processor, begin by placing the flour, icing sugar, salt, ginger and baking powder in the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times to distribute everything. Add all the oil, then pulse until the mixture is well-mixed and looks like damp sand. Add 1/2 the water and process until a ball forms in the machine. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time to adjust as necessary. Continue with the recipe as outline above.

Avoid slicing the figs too thin because they will just disintegrate in the oven when cooking.

Use normal sugar if you don’t have any natural brown sugar on hand. Natural date sugar is another great alternative – one that I often use.

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