FIG TART

Adapted from Crostata di Fichi in "Jamie's Italy."

As beautiful and as delicious as it was, I still found it too sweet. I would try this tart again with apricots or plums. Or you could replace the sweet tart dough with an unsweetened dough. A cornmeal dough would be great as well. The tart dough recipe that I've listed tastes very good and it browns nicely.  You'll need a deep 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Or a shallower 11-inch pan.

tart dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
seeds from one vanilla bean OR 2 teaspoons vanilla
zest  of 1/2 a lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
2-3 tablespoons ice water

frangipane filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup blanched ground almonds or almond meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean OR 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon grappa or Grand Marnier

12 figs, apricots, or plums
teaspoon of thyme leaves
zest of 1/2 orange
zest of 1/2 lemon
handful of blanched chopped almonds
1 tablespoon of sugar (preferably chunky like turbinado)

For the tart shell. Cream butter, sugar and salt by hand or in a food processor. Add yolks, vanilla and zests. Mix just to combine. Add flour. Mix briefly until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Pulse or mix in 2 tablespoons ice water. Add more water if dough seems too dry.  Dump onto the counter and press into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out and press into tart pan. The dough is hard to work with. It's fine to patch holes and tears with extra pieces. Once it's cooked no one will know the difference. Chill for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

For the frangipane. Combine almonds, flour and sugar. In a separate bowl cream the butter. Mix in the almond mixture. Add the eggs, vanilla and liquor. Mix until just combined. Chill in fridge until you're ready to use it.

Bake off the tart shell for about 15 minutes at 325°F until slightly golden. Cool for 10 minutes. Fill the half-baked shell with the frangipane. Spread it out evenly. Jamie has this great fig trick. Cut off stems. Cut an x in the top of fig. Press the bottom of the fig up an through the x. Press the figs down into the frangipane with the x facing up. (If you're using using apricots or plums, cut them in half, remove pits and place halves face up.) Sprinkle with almonds, lemon and orange zests, and sugar. Throw it in the oven. Check after 45 minutes. Cover with tin foil if it's browning too much. It's done when the frangipane is puffed and golden. It's okay for it to be a little bit gooey in the center.  Sprinkle on powered sugar, cinnamon or both right before serving. Serve with unsweetened mascarpone, creme fraiche, or whipped cream.

DASH AND BELLA
http://www.dashandbella.blogspot.com/

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