I have a lovely neighbor. She’s an elderly Spanish lady called Angel. Deliciously sweet green figs grow in her brother’s garden, and she gives us a basketful about once a week. They are perfectly ripe, and so I must eat them up or surrender them to fruit flies.
The first week or two, I ate most of them, loosing a few. The next week I made little fig cakes. (They were supposed to be financiers, but I forgot to add the powdered almond.) Still delicious, but no photos to show for it. Next I made ice cream. Yes! Cream and figs! And yesterday, the perfect little tart. So simple, yet absolutely dainty. Served together, this match will brighten any late summer dessert course. Use any fresh figs that you can get your hands on. There are many varieties.
No need for eggs in this ice cream. Just good old heavy cream. The basic recipe is from David Lebovitz, as I discoverd on the site Vanilla Garlic. I didn’t follow to the tee, omitting the water and adding the sugar earlier so as not to cook the figs for too long. I wanted them to keep that fresh taste rather then become jam.
A good pastry crust isn’t the easiest thing to come by. The recipes are simple, yet the finish can be so different from one recipe to another. My favorite crust in recent times is from Canadian pastry chef Regan Daley. You can see in my poorly lit photo (I do apologize for that by the way,) that this crust has texture. One of its greatest qualities: it crumbles in your mouth, not in your hand.
Try these two very simple recipes together. Régalez-vous!
recipe for Fig Ice Cream
to be made a day in advance2 lbs fresh figs (about 20)
1/2 cup of water if your figs are a little dehydrated 1 lemon, organic and unwaxed
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed, lemon juice, or more to taste …
Remove the stems from the figs, chop each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, suacepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Add the sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8-1o minutes until the figs are tender and the mixture has a jam-like consistency. I used a soup mixer to slightly blend. You can put in a blender and pulse a few times if you would like.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend together with the cream and lemon juice, chill in the fridge and then put in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you want you ice cream to be more like what we buy from the store, allow it to freeze in the freezer overnight before digging in.
recipe for the sweet pastry crust (pâte sucrée) from Regan Daley:
Serve warm right away with a scoop of fig ice cream or cold the next day.
to make a few hours or a day in advance1 1/4 cups flour 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/4 tsp salt 8 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten …
You can do this by hand using a pastry blender, but I find that the food processor method is quicker and gives great results.
Combine the flour, sugar, and salit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times to blend the dry ingredients. Add the bits of cold butter and pulse until the largest pieces of the mixture are about the size of fat peas. Add the egg yolks and pulse 2 or 3 times, just until the mixture looks moist and crumbly and comes together in a clump when you squeeze it.
Butter a 10 or 11 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and dust your fingers with flour. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. (I didn’t press up the sides as I made this tart a little flat. The effect was very nice.) Don’t try to roll out this dough! We’re talking sticky mess. Just press it into the tart pan.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
recipe for fig tart:about 10 figs about 1/4 cup heavy cream or double cream about 2 or 3 tbs of sugar for sprinkling your sweet pastry crust some honey …
Preheat oven to 350° F or 180°C
Poke the crust many times with a fork.
Slice the figs into 6 parts and distribute evenly over the crust.
Pour the heavy cream evenly over the figs and sprinkle with sugar. To be honest, I don’t measure here. So if you would like, just add as much cream as your heart desires and sprinkle with a handful of sugar. Just be careful not to add so much cream that it leaks from your tart pan.
Bake for about 40 minutes, making sure that the crust is a nice caramel color, but not burned.
While still warm, drizzle some honey over the figs.