Rick Stein's Fig and Frangipane Tarts
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.
|For the shortcrust pastry:|
|170g||plain flour, plus extra for rolling|
|100g||cold unsalted butter, cubed|
|pinch of salt|
|1–2 tbsp||ice-cold water|
|For the filling:|
|100g||butter, at room temperature|
|½ tsp||almond extract|
|1 tbsp||flaked almonds|
|1 tsp||icing sugar|
|6 tbsp||crème fraiche|
You will need: 6 loose-bottomed 10–12cm tartlet tins.
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.