Rick Stein's Fig and Frangipane Tarts

Rick Stein's French fig and frangipane tarts feature a buttery shortcrust pastry case filled with sweet almond and verdant fig. The perfect autumnal dinner party dessert.

Rick Stein’s Secret France
A culinary journey across France with Rick Stein
All of your favourite recipes from the BBC series
Secret French recipes alongside authentic classics

Introduction

The idea for these little tarts comes from the delightful southern town of Uzès. At dinner one night, I had a fig tart and was intrigued by the fact that it had this delicious moelleux texture in the centre. On leaving, I asked for the recipe and was told, sorry, they bought it in. Sadly, this happens so much in French restaurants – the cost of staff I’m afraid. What I took to be subtlety was probably simply that the tart had been cooked from frozen and was still slightly underdone in the centre. This is a proper version and quite delicious. I favour crème fraiche with these.

Makes 6 x 10cm tartlets

Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry:
170g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1–2 tbsp ice-cold water
For the filling:
100g butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp almond extract
100g ground almonds
9 figs, quartered
1 tbsp flaked almonds
To serve:
1 tsp icing sugar
6 tbsp crème fraiche

Essential kit

You will need: 6 loose-bottomed 10–12cm tartlet tins.

Instructions

For the pastry, put the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl and add the egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of cold water to make a smooth but not sticky dough. Add the extra water if required.

Put the dough on a floured work surface, roll it out and line 6 loose-bottomed 10–12cm tartlet tins. Chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Line each tin with a circle of baking parchment or foil, add baking beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, then put the tins back in the oven for a further 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

While the pastry cases are cooking make the frangipane. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until you have a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the eggs and almond extract, then stir in the ground almonds and mix well. Divide the mixture between the pastry cases and arrange 6 fig wedges on top of each tart. Scatter with some of the flaked almonds and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with some crème fraiche.

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